Our Milky Way galaxy is truly warped, at least around edges

This undated image provided by Chinese Academy of Sciences shows the Artist's impression of the Milky Way. Scientists in China and Australia released an updated 3D map of the Milky Way on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. They used 1,339 pulsating stars, young, newly catalogued stars bigger and brighter than our sun, to map the galaxy’s shape. (Xiaodian Chen/Chinese Academy of Sciences via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — It turns out our Milky Way galaxy is truly warped, at least around the far edges.

Scientists in China and Australia released an updated 3D map of the Milky Way on Tuesday. They used 1,339 pulsating stars — young, newly catalogued stars bigger and brighter than our sun — to map the galaxy's shape.

The farther from the center, the more warping, or twisting, there is in the Milky Way's outer hydrogen gas disc. Researchers say the warped, spiral pattern is likely caused by the spinning force of the massive inner disc of stars.

"We usually think of spiral galaxies as being quite flat, like Andromeda, which you can easily see through a telescope," Macquarie University's Richard de Grijs, who took part in the study, said in a statement from Sydney.

Lead researcher Xiaodian Chen of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing said it's difficult to determine distances from the sun to the Milky Way's fringes, "without having a clear idea of what that disc actually looks like." The stars on which his team's map is based — known as classical Cepheids — provided substantial measuring accuracy.

At least a dozen other galaxies appear to have warped edges in a similar spiral pattern, so in that respect, we're hardly unique.

The study appears in the journal Nature Astronomy.

___

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Must Read

Report: China developing advanced lunar mission...

Mar 9, 2017

State media say China is developing an advanced new spaceship capable of both flying in low-Earth...

4 tons of garbage collected in China's Everest...

May 11, 2017

Chinese state media say volunteers have cleared four tons of garbage from the Chinese north side of...

Computer beats Chinese champion in ancient board...

May 23, 2017

A computer that plays go has defeated China's top player of the ancient board came and the Chinese...

Foreign doctors deem ill Chinese Nobel laureate...

Jul 9, 2017

Two foreign specialists who visited Liu Xiaobo say the cancer-stricken Nobel Peace Prize laureate...

The Latest: US wants Liu to be able to choose...

Jul 13, 2017

U.S. officials want Chinese authorities to allow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his...

About Us

RedShiftDaily was started out of fascination with mankind discoveries through peering out into the cosmos. Our team of enthusiasts are going to deliver only the best and latest progress in space technology and discovery so you too can share in the excitement.

Contact us: sales[at]redshiftdaily.com