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
A river of 4,000 stars has been detected just 330 light years from the Sun. This grouping is one billion years old, and has circled the outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy four times since its formation. Astronomers found the formation using the Gaia space telescope, operated by the European Space Agency.Read More Billion-Year-Old River of Stars Seen Flowing Near the Sun
The SPHEREx space telescope will launch in 2023, NASA reports. This orbiting observatory will map 100,000 stars in our galaxy and 300,000 other galaxies over the entire sky. The telescope will record in infrared light, similar to some forms of night vision technology, The robotic mission will examine stellar birthplaces, searching for water. It will also turn its eyes to watch planets form around alien stars.Read More Meet SPHEREx – NASA’s Newest Mission to Explore the Early Universe, Launching in 2023
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!
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!
One of the last untested predictions of Albert Einstein has been proven correct by astronomers in Chile. While watching a star pass by the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, astronomers saw light from the star become stretched by the object, as the famed physicist predicted. Researchers hope to see a small change in the orbit of the star, which would confirm another prediction made in the General Theory of Relativity.Read More Einstein was Right – Here’s what a Black Hole has to Say!