Milky Way Galaxy Is 50% Larger Than Previously Believed

Isn't science just spectacular? According to new research led by Heidi Jo Newberg (a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), our Milky Way galaxy is 50% larger than previously believed. 

Take a moment and ponder that: 50% larger. Look at the room you're in. Now imagine that room increasing by half its size. Quite a change, yes? Now imagine that times a bazillion* and you'll get the picture.

Which raises the question: How did researchers miss this?

In 2002, researchers noted a ring of stars. They calculated what they observed, and used these figures as part of their estimation for the Milky Way's size. Now, they understand that what they previously took for a thin expanse of stars is actually much greater. After reevaluating, Newberg and her team made new speculations—which is how they arrived at the 50% figure. Newberg explained:

"In essence, what we found is that the disk of the Milky Way isn't just a disk of stars in a flat plane—it's corrugated . . .  As it radiates outward from the sun, we see at least four ripples in the disk of the Milky Way. While we can only look at part of the galaxy with this data, we assume that this pattern is going to be found throughout the disk."

Imagine what they'll discover next! 


*Technical scientific amount

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