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milky way

milky way size

The Milky Way is a thief

October 11th, 2019

We often think of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, as being a self-contained collection of stars, planets, gas and dust. Sure, it’s going to slam straight into the neighboring Andromeda galaxy at some point in the distant future, but for now the Milky Way is pretty much just chilling out, right? Not so fast. …

galaxy collision

Astronomers now believe our galaxy once swallowed a smaller galaxy

July 23rd, 2019

For astronomers, discovering new worlds, stars, and even entire galaxies is really only half the battle. Once discovered, explaining how new features of space formed, and where they came from, often means extensive research and a bit of guesswork. A new research effort aimed at uncovering some of the secrets of how our home galaxy, …

gaia galaxy map

The European Space Agency just updated its massive galaxy map

July 17th, 2019

Back in early 2018, the European Space Agency released the second phase of Milky Way mapping data collected by the agency’s Gaia satellite. With a variety of tools that allow scientists and even casual space fans to browse an immense amount of data, it was a very big deal in for both professional and amateur …

black hole

Astronomers discover massive ring of gas circling our black hole

June 6th, 2019

The center of the Milky Way galaxy is somewhere you wouldn’t want to be. We have it pretty easy here on Earth, orbiting our star and staying out of everyone’s way, but deep within the heart of our galaxy, a monster lurks. It’s a supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* (that’s pronounced “A star”, …

milky way mass

Just guess how much the Milky Way weighs

March 11th, 2019

Judging the size of something is often best done when comparing it to other things, but that line of thinking tends to break down when you start talking about objects in space. Earth is huge, but not when you compare it to something like Jupiter, and Jupiter is tiny compare to our Sun, and our …