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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Milky Way is bigger, more dense and faster than previously thought



American scientists discovered that the Milky Way is 15% larger in width, 50% more dense and turns at a speed nearly 15% higher than previously thought. These data were presented by researchers from the National Radio Observatory and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics Harvard-Smithsonian a meeting of the American Society of Astronomy held in Long Beach, California.
in Lusa
image from NASA

It has more weight and be faster, it also has greater gravitational force and therefore the greater the potential for conflict with neighboring galaxies, like Andromeda, earlier than expected, even though the billions of light years away, warn the researchers.

The fact that scientific observations are made from within the galaxy makes the measurements and study of its structure, which makes it easier for the other galaxies.

Previously, the value of the magnitude of the Milky Way was calculated from indirect measurements, but the radio-telescopes VLBA the National Science Foundation in the United States now can record images with high quality and make direct measurements of distances and movements regardless of other factors such as brightness.

In images captured by radio telescopes, scientists are located in regions of the Milky Way profuse creation of stars in which the gas molecules increase radio broadcasts.

These areas are bright for the brand of radio-telescope, which determines the three-dimensional movements of these regions, which mostly does not follow a circular path as you move the galaxy, but elliptical and a lower speed to those described by other regions .

It was thus possible to calculate the speed at which the Milky Way rotates around its center is about 914,000 kilometers per hour, 15 percent more than the 791,800 miles per hour that were accepted as a measure for decades.

The team of researchers also suggested that the galaxy has four arms of gas and dust in spiral in which stars are formed, not two.

in SIC

Portuguese version of this article can be found here.
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