The Milky Way's True Shape

The Milky Way is but one of billions.
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Christopher K.
Posts: 5310
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

The Milky Way's True Shape

Post by Christopher K. »

Thomas Dame and Patrick Thaddeus have used a 1.2-meter dish at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to survey the galactic plane at 115 gigahertz. Carbon monoxide emissions associated with molecular clouds were pinpointed in numerous locations, allowing the researchers to comfortably state they have found a 60,000-light year-long segment. They speculate the segment is a wraparound extension of our galaxy's Scutum-Centaurus Arm.

In 2008 studies conducted with Spitzer indicated the Milky Way has only two major arms, as opposed to the four previously believed. Humankind has known about the two brightest satellite galaxies (the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds) since antiquity, if not understanding exactly what they were. Since the late 1930's around ten dimmer satellites have been located.

More information:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/communit ... 15774.html

Abstract on ARXIV:
http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1105.2523

About Thomas Dame:
https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~tdame/

Christopher K.
Posts: 5310
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: The Milky Way's True Shape

Post by Christopher K. »

A ring of dense gas exists at the center of the Milky Way, and the Herschel Space Observatory has imaged it in its entirety for the first time. It could do this due to the infrared view Herschel has. The ring is over 600 light years across and is only 15 Kelvin above absolute zero.

The image:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hersc ... 14400.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 5310
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: The Milky Way's True Shape

Post by Christopher K. »

This is a news alert from the Heberts--Mr. Hebert is a regular contributer to my email regarding new and important astronomy news, and a regular at HRPO's Friday Night lectures.

Astrophysicist Alis Deason and her colleagues are stating they have found a very accurate estimate of the Milky Way's diameter--1.9 million light-years, plus or minus 0.4 million light-years. This news was released during the third week of February.

About Alis Deason:
https://www.dur.ac.uk/research/director ... /?id=15257

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