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Study Describes Bar at Center of Milky Way
Associated Press ^ | 8/17/05 | RYAN J. FOLEY

Posted on 08/16/2005 10:16:39 PM PDT by anymouse

After creating the most detailed analysis yet of what the Milky Way looks like, astronomers say a long bar of stars cuts on an angle through the center of the galaxy that includes the sun and planet Earth.

Some scientists have suspected the presence of the stellar bar, but the survey led by two Wisconsin astronomers shows the bar is far longer than previously believed, and at a specific angle.

The skinny bar is made up of old and red stars and is about 27,000 light years in length, about 7,000 light years longer than previously believed. The bar is at a 45 degree angle to the line between our Sun and the center of the galaxy and may put the Milky Way in a small class of galaxies with the unusual shape, researchers say.

"We're pretty certain the extent and orientation of this bar because we got more data than anybody else that has ever brought to bear on the problem by a long shot," said Ed Churchwell, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of astronomy who collaborated on the project.

The team of astronomers used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to survey more than 30 million stars in the center of the Milky Way. The orbiting infrared telescope allowed the astronomers to see bright stars through clouds of interstellar dust to draw a vivid portrait of the center of the galaxy.

The new portrait will help astronomers understand how our galaxy looks from the outside and "how it forms together in the big picture," said lead study author Robert Benjamin, a UW-Whitewater professor of physics.

"The stronger the bar the more influence it has on everything going on in the galaxy," said Benjamin.

The study will appear in an upcoming edition of Astrophysical Journal Letters, a leading astronomy journal.

The study should put to rest the idea held by some astronomers that an ellipse is at the center of the galaxy's swirling arms, Churchwell said.

"We've largely been ignorant of this very major structure in our galaxy for all these years," he said.

The hardest work in the study was not observing the stars: the NASA orbiting telescope took about 400 hours of observations. Researchers spent five years preparing for the observation and almost one year making sense of all the data.

The telescope, launched two years ago, is the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space and is trailing the earth in an orbit around the sun. It uses infrared light to penetrate clouds of gas and dust that block astronomers' views from Earth.

The Milky Way is a large, spiral galaxy that contains the sun, solar system and billions of stars that make a luminous band as seen by the naked eye. Its precise size, shape and mass are still unknown.

Billions of galaxies make up the universe and are mostly spiral or elliptical in shape. Galaxies that have stellar bars cut through the center is rare, but not unheard of, scientists say.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: astronomy; galaxy; milkyway; science; space; stars

Artists rendering released by the University of Wisconsin.

A closer look at this astronomical phenomena.


1 posted on 08/16/2005 10:16:44 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: anymouse

Creamy nougat and carmel


2 posted on 08/16/2005 10:17:57 PM PDT by Bommer
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To: anymouse

It's nougat wrapped in chocolate. Mmmm. My favorite.


3 posted on 08/16/2005 10:20:33 PM PDT by TBP
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To: anymouse

Ah! And I thought it might be a fubar!


4 posted on 08/16/2005 10:20:46 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: anymouse

[Study Describes Bar at Center of Milky Way]


So an astronomer and a physicist walk into a bar. The astronomer says to the bartender......

:^)


5 posted on 08/16/2005 10:21:09 PM PDT by spinestein (The facts fairly and honestly presented, truth will take care of itself.)
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To: anymouse
Bar at Center of Galaxy?
6 posted on 08/16/2005 10:21:17 PM PDT by BoBToMatoE
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To: anymouse

Is it an annex of the Restraunt and the End of the Universe?

One Pangalatic Gargleblaster, STAT!!!


7 posted on 08/16/2005 10:21:35 PM PDT by Ronin (When the fox gnaws.... SMILE!!!)
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To: anymouse
Study Describes Bar at Center of Milky Way

Next time we'll talk about the bartender.

8 posted on 08/16/2005 10:21:39 PM PDT by TBP
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To: BoBToMatoE

Erm.. ment to write..

Bar at center of galaxy?

[Insert adult beverage joke here]


9 posted on 08/16/2005 10:21:58 PM PDT by BoBToMatoE
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To: anymouse

"The skinny bar is made up of old and red stars..."

Sounds as though it is located in Hollywood.


10 posted on 08/16/2005 10:22:09 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: BoBToMatoE
Bar at Center of Galaxy?

How late is it open? Next round's on me!

11 posted on 08/16/2005 10:23:15 PM PDT by TBP
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To: anymouse

12 posted on 08/16/2005 10:23:15 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative (France is an example of retrograde chordate evolution.)
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To: anymouse

You don't suppose we'll find Norm Peterson and Cliff Klevan there, do you?


13 posted on 08/16/2005 10:23:43 PM PDT by TBP
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To: Bommer

So, a bar is central to the whole Galaxy... when's the happy hour?


14 posted on 08/16/2005 10:24:52 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: Ronin
Restaurant at the end of the universe.

Arrrgh! Proofread, Ronin... proofread.

15 posted on 08/16/2005 10:25:28 PM PDT by Ronin (When the fox gnaws.... SMILE!!!)
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To: anymouse
What's up, Norm?

"My nipples. It's freezing out there."


16 posted on 08/16/2005 10:29:48 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: anymouse
Bar in the center of the galaxy? Is it owned by the same people who own restaurant at the end of the galaxy?
17 posted on 08/16/2005 10:29:59 PM PDT by Big Guy and Rusty 99 (Liberals are the feces that is produced when shame eats too much stupidity!)
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To: anymouse

when's Happy Hour.


18 posted on 08/16/2005 10:31:03 PM PDT by liberty2004
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To: anymouse

Did I ever tell you the story of how I was thrown out of the Bar at the Center of the Universe. Well there was this blonde see, and a couple of us.......


19 posted on 08/16/2005 10:32:32 PM PDT by wildcatf4f3 (whats wrong with a draft?)
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To: anymouse

"Study describes bar at center of the universe"

Would that be an alcohol bar or a dairy bar....?


20 posted on 08/16/2005 10:34:40 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (Well, why did you pull a gun on me if you didn't want to have sex?)
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To: anymouse

"Bartender, is the galaxy spinning or have I just had too much to drink?"


21 posted on 08/16/2005 10:37:35 PM PDT by Rokurota (.)
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To: anymouse

22 posted on 08/16/2005 10:43:11 PM PDT by Central Scrutiniser (Never pet a dog that is on fire)
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To: Ronin
Is it an annex of the Restraunt and the End of the Universe?

As soon as I saw the thread title, I wondered how long before someone made that joke. And if you hadn't, I would have. :-)

23 posted on 08/16/2005 10:46:49 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: anymouse

"My God! It's full of stars,"

Sorry, it just had to be said!


24 posted on 08/16/2005 11:06:25 PM PDT by Danae ( Anál nathrach, orth' bháis's bethad, do chél dénmha)
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To: anymouse

If you look reeeeeaaaalllll close you can see three green men sitting at the bar.


25 posted on 08/16/2005 11:13:32 PM PDT by taxesareforever (Government is running amuck)
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To: taxesareforever
Norm!!!

-PJ

26 posted on 08/16/2005 11:14:43 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
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To: anymouse

Does the bar point towards Cobal?


27 posted on 08/16/2005 11:16:49 PM PDT by DB (©)
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To: anymouse

Yes, but does it serve Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters?


28 posted on 08/16/2005 11:24:52 PM PDT by WestVirginiaRebel (Carnac: A siren, a baby and a liberal. Answer: Name three things that whine.)
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To: BoBToMatoE

Let me know when they find the restaurant at the end of the universe....:)


29 posted on 08/16/2005 11:25:52 PM PDT by Salamander (We're pain, we're steel, a plot of knives. We're Transmaniacon MC!)
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To: Larry Lucido
"My nipples. It's freezing out there."

Hey, I live up here, when it got as cold as it did last year, for as long as it did last year, you're fat, and you're wearing an undersized, over starched shirt, that $hit hurts.

What a worthless thing to put on a man.

God's got a wicked good sense of humor, giving men nipples.

I'm 35 lbs lighter than I was last June, but might put it back on this winter commuting home by slogging through the snow drifts from warm bar to warm bar and drinking beer.

30 posted on 08/16/2005 11:27:39 PM PDT by benjaminjjones
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To: anymouse
Instead of the artist's rendering, here is a photo of a typical barred spiral galaxy, M 109:

31 posted on 08/16/2005 11:29:56 PM PDT by Colinsky
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To: anymouse

Sounds like the Milky Way is just a typical barred spiral galaxy, like M-109:

http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~jma2u/Images/Astro%20Pics/m109%20(face%20on%20barred)%201024.jpg


32 posted on 08/16/2005 11:33:16 PM PDT by Colinsky
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To: benjaminjjones

LOL! You get cold in Mass?


33 posted on 08/16/2005 11:35:08 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (God save us from the fury of the do-gooders!)
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To: anymouse

I saw the headline and was hoping for a big, black monolith.

Bitterly disappointed.


34 posted on 08/16/2005 11:46:10 PM PDT by cambridge ( I was sympathetic to her before I was against her.)
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To: Smokin' Joe
You get cold in Mass?

It looks like you live in North Dakota.

I can't tell if you're making fun of me or not. Doesn't matter. Life is what you make of it.

I can't wait to visit my brother near Missoula Montana. Might decide to move there, as long as there are enough conservatives to hang out with. They only have 2 seasons there. Snow tires and Wild fires.

Right now I live a half block from the Old North Church.

Don't get me wrong, I'm only here because I love the 4 seasons (well, the ex brought me up here, but that's another story). Only the hack wussies go to Florida for winter. I do think we missed half of fall and half of spring this year however. Such is life.

I've been through worse winters up here, but since I moved to the North End last June, the tiny streets were a pain in the A$$ transportation-wise this past winter. No biggie.

What the heck was this thread about anyway, I got distracted by the picture of my hero, Norm.

35 posted on 08/17/2005 12:22:23 AM PDT by benjaminjjones
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To: benjaminjjones
I'm smiling, but I'm not making fun of you.

I used to think 10 degrees above zero was cold, the weather here has recalibrated that.

As you said, life is what you make of it.

You may like Missoula, the country out that way is beautiful and the weather is more temperate than that here on the plains.

Expect lots of snow, but there are places out there where people strap on planks and go sliding down the hills on it. Great fun, from what I hear, if you are up for that. Definitely expect a change from the East Coast. I hope you enjoy it.

36 posted on 08/17/2005 12:49:14 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (God save us from the fury of the do-gooders!)
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To: anymouse

Bar at Center of Milky Way...

Isn't that in an alcove of The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe?


37 posted on 08/17/2005 12:57:17 AM PDT by ApplegateRanch (The Marching Morons are coming...and they're breeding more Democrats beyond all reason!)
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To: Ronin

Zaphod, is that you?

If so, you need a double.

If not, I need a double.


38 posted on 08/17/2005 1:01:12 AM PDT by ApplegateRanch (The Marching Morons are coming...and they're breeding more Democrats beyond all reason!)
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To: Central Scrutiniser

Lovely photo! And, yes, three balls WOULD be a "Big Bang".


39 posted on 08/17/2005 1:03:02 AM PDT by ApplegateRanch (The Marching Morons are coming...and they're breeding more Democrats beyond all reason!)
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To: Smokin' Joe
Thanks,

Just so you know, one of the best science teachers, best basketball coaches, and frankly, best all-around-adult role model, I ever had in high school was from North Dakota. He was a family man in a school that had way too many homo teachers.

Great sense of humor. It was an overseas DOD school and most of us kids didn't even know where North Dakota was.

He used to wear a college jacket that said N.Dakota and we would kid him about where "ndak-ko-ta" was.

He always laughed and took it with good humor.

Good man. Good representative of your state.

Actually, the ONLY person I've ever met from North Dakota, LOL.

40 posted on 08/17/2005 1:17:12 AM PDT by benjaminjjones
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To: anymouse

Do they serve Miller Light???....


41 posted on 08/17/2005 2:24:56 AM PDT by AngelesCrestHighway
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To: Smokin' Joe; benjaminjjones
I like North Dakota. Folks there seem quite, um, "chipper." :-)


42 posted on 08/17/2005 2:51:10 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido
LOL! [I hate to be this way, but that movie sucked! They could not get the Red River Valley accent down, nor hold it, when they came close, and ended up sounding like Canadians from a Res.

Funny how little of the movie was shot in ND, too, (most was done in Minnesota, but that's Hollywierd for you....)]

43 posted on 08/17/2005 2:59:04 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (God save us from the fury of the do-gooders!)
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To: TBP
You don't suppose we'll find Norm Peterson and Cliff Klevan there, do you?

Or Wookies? Or Ferengi?

44 posted on 08/17/2005 9:25:52 AM PDT by TBP
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45 posted on 08/17/2005 7:42:56 PM PDT by Aetius
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