Skip to comments.Milky Way 'bigger than thought'
Posted on 01/07/2009 5:19:26 AM PST by Red Badger
Our galaxy is much bigger than once thought, according to research presented at a major astronomy meeting this week.
The results suggest the Milky Way is roughly the same size as Andromeda, the largest galaxy in our local group.
What is more, it is moving 15% faster than earlier predictions.
The greater mass means that future collisions with nearby galaxies could happen sooner than thought, according to the researchers.
Mark Reid of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, US, and his colleagues made use of the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to deduce the Milky Way's size and speed.
Dr Reid was speaking at the 213th American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Long Beach, California.
The VLBA is a system of 10 radio telescopes scattered across and around North America that together allow unprecedented resolution in astronomy measurements.
This resolution, according to the CfA, is equivalent to being able to read a newspaper in Cairo from an armchair in Edinburgh. By using the VLBA to measure the apparent shift of far-flung star-forming regions when the Earth is on opposite sides of the Sun, the researchers were able to measure the distance to those regions using fewer assumptions than prior efforts.
"These measurements use the traditional surveyor's method of triangulation and do not depend on any assumptions based on other properties, such as brightness, unlike earlier studies," said team member Karl Menten of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.
The results show that the Milky Way is about 15% wider than previously thought.
Tiny shifts in the frequency of the radio emission that arise because the regions are moving gave the researchers an estimate of how quickly the Milky Way rotates around its centre.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
Andromeda was previously thought to be larger than the Milky Way
It's the holidays. We all put on a little weight............
It’s a good thing public policy decisions weren’t based on the presumed size of the milky way.
Wait til you see my next post.............
In layman's terms, the Galaxy isn't "absolutely, totally huge", it's "absolutely, totally, frikkin' HUGE!"
if we stop global warming we can save the galaxy
You're right. This was nothing.
Rove, you magnificent bastard !
Yep. I didn’t notice that “30% More Free” label before I opened the wrapper, but I’ll walk it off after luch.
If “Big Bang” is correct, isn’t that point the only possible point of intersection? If every galaxy and planet had origins in that explosion, aren’t all bodies moving away from each other?
I always prefered a snickers bar anyway.......
In other news, thought 'smaller than expected.'
It's always best to plan ahead...........
And we’re supposed to believe the scientists who predict globull warming?..........
Wonder if they’ll find the same about Uranus ;)
Only the ones in DC..........
The Milky Way galaxy is BIGGER than we thought? How can that be? Scientists already know EVERYTHING!
I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.
Yes, to a point. But "clumps" form due to local gravitational effects.............
An Andromeda spokesman says there is just no way it can get through 2009 without Government assistance. "Our projections for 2008 had us faster and bigger than the Milky Way. Now, we know there is a huge shortfall - and we just can't find a way out without Federal assistance."
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