Astronomers have discovered the farthest reaches in our galaxy.

Not only is trying to visualize the size of the universe a daunting task — and somewhat unsettling — but it’s also a paradoxical one. In a way, our cosmic vastness can be both overwhelming and paradoxical. LimitedBecause it doesn’t exist forever…and infinitely because it’s always getting bigger in every direction. Quantifying all things is the most manageable thing in cosmic mapping. InsideOur universe seems to be.

There is no better place to begin than right where you are Milky Way? Astronomers announced at the annual meeting the American Astronomical Society (Seattle) that they may finally have it. identified the Milky Way’s outermost boundary.

They estimate that the universe extends more then a million light years from the galactic centre, which is about halfway to Andromeda, our neighboring galaxy.

Raja Guathakurta is a professor of astronomy at the University of California Santa Cruz and coauthor of the study of these findings. statment. “Our galaxy and Andromeda both have large populations, and there is no space between them.”

For context, a light year is about 5.88 trillion miles (9.46 trillion kilometers) long and at 3,000 mph — close to the speeds of Orion spacecraft, Artemis IIt took you more than a billion hours for you to circle the moon and back last January.

I don’t even care if it takes me to write the time it will take to travel one way, but all of them. Millions Light years.

The stars were the clues

The Milky Way territory can be divided into three sections.

First, the iconic spiral arms, one of which holds our solar systems, are found inside what’s called a “thin disc,” which is essentially a flat disk that’s dotted with stars, moons, and planets. It measures about 100,000 light-years across.

This illustration shows us what the Milky Way looks with two large spiral arms.


The central bulging region of this disk is surrounded in an inner halo that contains some of the oldest stars in our galaxy. It extends hundreds of thousands of light years in each direction.

The outer aura is last but not least.

He could control this mysterious area, which is floating around his inner aura. dark matterIt is the largest mass of our galaxy. GuhaThakurta explained that it is the “most difficult part to study” because the outer limits are far away. “The stars are very few compared to the high stellar concentration of the bulge or disk.”

GuhaThakurta along with his fellow researchers had an idea to figure out where the Milky Way’s outer halo ends.

The three distinct parts of the Milky Way.

This illustration shows the inner & outer halos of our Milky Way. The halo, a spherical cluster of stars around a galaxy, is also known as the spherical cloud.

NASA, ESA, and A. Field (STScI).

They keep track of what is known. RR Lyrae starsLiving in its hazy glow. RR Lyrae stars, which are special stellar objects of the type that pulsate with their brightness, are shorthand for a group of special stellar objects. They regularly expand and contract, appearing to astronomy instruments on Earth as glowing a little more powerfully, then fading gently — over and over again.

“The way it varies its brightness looks like an EKG — it’s like the heartbeat of a galaxy — so brightness goes up quickly and goes down slowly, and the cycle repeats perfectly with this very distinctive shape,” GuhaThakurta said. “In addition, the average brightness of stars is the same regardless of their location. This combination is great for studying the galactic structure.”

RR Lyrae star are better at measuring distances because it is possible for them to achieve average brightness. For example, other types of stars might be brighter because they are close or because they are really bright. RR Lyrae’s stars are less questionable. Scientists find it useful because its brightness can be easily correlated with its distance. Calibration of the structure of the entire universe.

Yuting Feng, a UCLA doctoral candidate and the lead author of this study, stated in a statement that “only astronomers understand how painful it is having reliable trackers at such distances.”

Feng and Guhakurta won a jackpot when they reallocated data from Virgo Next Generation Cluster Survey,This program captured a large number of galaxies close to the Milky Way. This program was also able to capture a group RR Lyrae foreground stars within the same field during its existence.

Feng explained that the data used was a byproduct of the survey. “This powerful sample RR Lyrae distant stars gives us a powerful tool for studying and testing our current models regarding the size and mass galaxy.”

Feng said that Feng’s observations also confirmed ancient theoretical estimations of the corona’s outer limits.

Those estimates suggest the halo lies roughly 300 kiloparsecs, or 1 million light-years, from the galactic center — and the team’s study found that RR Lyrae stars live at distances from 20 to 320 kiloparsecs, their last term just over One million light-years from the center of our galaxy.

This is pretty close.

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