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Milky Way 'bigger than thought'
BBC ^ | 01-07-09 | Staff

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.

Spinning around

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 ...


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: galaxy; milkyway; physics; space

Andromeda was previously thought to be larger than the Milky Way

It's the holidays. We all put on a little weight............

1 posted on 01/07/2009 5:19:27 AM PST by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

It’s a good thing public policy decisions weren’t based on the presumed size of the milky way.


2 posted on 01/07/2009 5:21:14 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

Wait til you see my next post.............


3 posted on 01/07/2009 5:22:00 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Red Badger
Our galaxy is much bigger than once thought...

In layman's terms, the Galaxy isn't "absolutely, totally huge", it's "absolutely, totally, frikkin' HUGE!"

4 posted on 01/07/2009 5:22:39 AM PST by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll)
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To: the invisib1e hand

if we stop global warming we can save the galaxy

s-a-r-c


5 posted on 01/07/2009 5:23:08 AM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: Red Badger
Milky Way 'bigger than thought'

Inflation.

Bush's fault.

6 posted on 01/07/2009 5:24:36 AM PST by DustyMoment (FloriDUH - proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
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To: Red Badger
Wait til you see my next post.............

You're right. This was nothing.

7 posted on 01/07/2009 5:27:16 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: Red Badger

Rove, you magnificent bastard !


8 posted on 01/07/2009 5:27:55 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: Red Badger

Yep. I didn’t notice that “30% More Free” label before I opened the wrapper, but I’ll walk it off after luch.


9 posted on 01/07/2009 5:31:14 AM PST by Zack Attack
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To: Red Badger

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?


10 posted on 01/07/2009 5:34:13 AM PST by Sgt_Schultze
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To: Red Badger

I always prefered a snickers bar anyway.......


11 posted on 01/07/2009 5:34:57 AM PST by Le Chien Rouge
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To: Red Badger
Milky Way 'bigger than thought'

In other news, thought 'smaller than expected.'

12 posted on 01/07/2009 5:35:43 AM PST by xjcsa (And these three remain: change, hope and government. But the greatest of these is government.)
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To: Red Badger
  "Our galaxy is much bigger than once thought... and what's more, it is moving 15% faster than earlier predictions"  I like the idea of being bigger and faster, but should I hold my breath waiting for this to have a perceptible effect on my life?
13 posted on 01/07/2009 5:38:57 AM PST by HawaiianGecko (Online internet polls are foolish: Winston Churchill, 1939)
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To: HawaiianGecko
...should I hold my breath waiting for this to have a perceptible effect on my life?

It's always best to plan ahead...........

14 posted on 01/07/2009 5:44:00 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: xjcsa

And we’re supposed to believe the scientists who predict globull warming?..........


15 posted on 01/07/2009 5:44:45 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Red Badger

Wonder if they’ll find the same about Uranus ;)


16 posted on 01/07/2009 5:45:37 AM PST by ropin71 (God Bless our Troops!)
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To: ropin71

Only the ones in DC..........


17 posted on 01/07/2009 5:48:39 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Red Badger

The Milky Way galaxy is BIGGER than we thought? How can that be? Scientists already know EVERYTHING!

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.


18 posted on 01/07/2009 5:49:26 AM PST by Larry - Moe and Curly (Loose lips sink ships.)
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To: Sgt_Schultze
...aren’t all bodies moving away from each other?

Yes, to a point. But "clumps" form due to local gravitational effects.............

19 posted on 01/07/2009 5:50:09 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Red Badger
Andromeda responds by asking for a taxpayer bailout.

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."

20 posted on 01/07/2009 5:53:04 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: Red Badger

Does this galaxy make me look fat?


21 posted on 01/07/2009 5:53:24 AM PST by 6SJ7 (Atlas Shrugged Mode: ON)
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To: 6SJ7

LOL!!!!...........


22 posted on 01/07/2009 5:54:24 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Red Badger

Thanks. But is an entire galaxy a clump?


23 posted on 01/07/2009 5:58:40 AM PST by Sgt_Schultze
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To: Sgt_Schultze

Yes. All galaxies are “clumps” of matter, as are black holes, stars, solar systems and planets........


24 posted on 01/07/2009 6:01:28 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Sgt_Schultze
According to the Big Band, the very early universe was lumpy. This lumpiness allowed for the formation of galaxies. Within such a clump (local group like ours, Milky Way, Andromeda, and a dozen other galaxies). Gravity can cause a local attraction between galaxies. The clump is speeding away from other clumps, but galaxies within a clump may be moving towards or away from one another.

The entire theory (best we have to date) relies on the lumpiness of the very earily universe, unfortunately that lumpiness requires something called inflation. Where for a instant in time the very early universe expanded faster then the speed of light.

Hmmm, faster then light? And this is where things get very interesting.

Since the laws of the universe were created in the Big Bang why could not inflation be possible for an instant before those laws where created?

Hmmm, well much bigger brains then I have are losing sleep over that one! LOL, I like this definition of the Big bang: "First there was nothing and then it exploded". It's the best theory we've got but there are a few "problems".

jim s

25 posted on 02/15/2009 8:06:47 AM PST by jpsb
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