Astronomers Spot 83 Super-massive Black Holes from Earliest Days of the Universe

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan reports finding 83 previously-unknown super-massive black holes from the early Universe. These objects, seen in the form of powerful quasars, are observed as they appeared 13 billion years ago, just as the first stars, galaxies, and black holes were forming. Nearly every galaxy we see today is thought to have a super-massive black hole at its center, including our own Milky Way.

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Hubble and Gaia Team Up to Measure the Mass of the Milky Way

The mass of the Milky Way Galaxy is a question that has long puzzled astronomers and astrophysicists. Estimates ranged from between 500 billion to three trillion times the mass of our Sun. A new study looked at globular clusters, groupings of a million or so stars surrounding the Milky Way. By measuring the velocity at which they circled our galaxy, as measured by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gaia Telescope, astronomers determined the Milky Way has a mass around one-and-a-half trillion times as great as our Sun.

Read More Hubble and Gaia Team Up to Measure the Mass of the Milky Way

It’s Not Just You – The Galaxy IS Warped, After All!

The Milky Way Galaxy is typically thought to be a flat, spiral disk. But, new research from astronomers at Macquarie University suggest our home galaxy is warped. By studying the positions of certain well-understood stars, researchers were able to create the first 3D model of our home galaxy. They found that the Milky Way has a slight “s” shape when viewed from the side. Torque caused by the movement of stars closer to the center the galaxy appear to be causing the effect.

Read More It’s Not Just You – The Galaxy IS Warped, After All!

Hubble Discovers Dwarf Galaxy Playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ in Our Own Backyard

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope accidentally found a previously-unknown galaxy, 28 million light years from Earth. This family of stars was found while researchers photographed the globular star cluster NGC 6752. Dubbed Bedin 1, this small, dim galaxy is believed to be around 13 billion years old, leading astronomers to describe it as a “living fossil” of the ancient Universe.

Read More Hubble Discovers Dwarf Galaxy Playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ in Our Own Backyard

Milky Way Galaxy Headed for Collision – Brace Yourselves, Here Comes the Large Magellanic Cloud!

The Milky Way Galaxy is headed for a collision with the Large Magellanic Cloud in about 2.4 billion years, new research has found. Astronomers previously thought this satellite galaxy of the Milky Way would pass harmlessly by our home galaxy. But, new observations show it contains twice as much dark matter as previously believed, sending it on a collision course with our local family of stars. Galactic collisions are fairly common, and we are also due to collide with the much larger Andromeda galaxy, just over four billion years in the future.

Read More Milky Way Galaxy Headed for Collision – Brace Yourselves, Here Comes the Large Magellanic Cloud!

The Andromeda Galaxy Was the Culprit – The Case of the Missing Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy, the closest large family of stars to the Milky Way, may be a galactic assassin. Astronomers from the University of Michigan have determined that this family of stars collided with another massive galaxy two billion years ago, nearly destroying it. Today, only the small dwarf galaxy, M32, remains, still located near Andromeda. In roughly four billion years, The Milky Way and Andromeda will collide, greatly altering both galaxies.

Read More The Andromeda Galaxy Was the Culprit – The Case of the Missing Galaxy