Home / We Live In A 'Warped And Twisted' Galaxy According To The First Accurate 3D Map Of The Milky Way

We Live In A 'Warped And Twisted' Galaxy According To The First Accurate 3D Map Of The Milky Way




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Artist's impression of the warped and twisted Milky Way disk Chen Xiaodian

How do you measure something you are inside or? We all seen countless images of our own Milky Way, but you always considered this: none of them are real. ”All are artists' impressions of what astronomers think the Milky Way is probably like.

Way is not flat, Astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia have just published a paper in Nature Astronomy that reveals the Milky Way to be 'warped, twisted and flared' from the Milky Way's center.

" We usually think of spiral galaxies as being quite flat, like Andromeda which you can easily see through a telescope, " says Professor Richard de Grijs, a co-author and astronomer from Mac quarie university.

 

 

    

 

  

   

The Andromeda Galaxy, or M31 Getty

How does the Milky Way work?

When viewed from a great distance, the Milky Way galaxy would look like a thin disk of stars that orbit once every few hundred million years around its central region. The estimated 300 billion stars, together with a mass of dark matter, provide the gravitational 'glue' to hold it all together, say the astronomers.

What causes the S-shaped warp?

What is warped are clouds in the outer galaxy. It's the change in the pull of gravity from the galaxy's inner region that causes the Milky Way's S-shaped warp. " It is notoriously difficult to determine the distances from the Milky Way's outer gas disk without having a clear idea of ​​what that disk actually looks like, said Dr. Chen Xiaodian, a researcher at NAOC and lead author of the article. " However, we recently published a new catalog of well-executed variable stars known as classical Cepheids, for which distances as accurate as 3 to 5% can be determined. [RS] Puppis is one of the brightest known Cepheid variable stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Hubble Space Telescope

Yellow bright giant and supergiant stars. Cepheid stars are often referred to as 'cosmic yardsticks' or ' standard candles ', and much of what astronomers know about distances in the Universe is down to observations of these young pulsating stars. In the study, 1,339 Cepheids were studied, each up to 100,000 brighter than the Sun.

Cepheids pulse predictably, so changes in their luminosity can be used to obtain a highly reliable distance . The team used 'classic' Cepheids, which pulse over days or months. Cepheids were first discovered in 1912 by & nbsp; Henrietta Swan Leavitt & nbsp; at Harvard College Observatory after studying thousands of & nbsp; variable stars & nbsp; in the & nbsp; Magellanic Clouds, two dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way. Her work was then used by Edwin Hubble to determine that some nebula that could be seen from Earth were, in fact, distant galaxies. That data was then used to calculate the more distant the galaxy, the faster it is moving away from us: the Hubble constant, which describes the expanding Universe .

For the astronomers in China and Australia , data on these classic Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) allowing the team to develop the first accurate 3D-dimensional picture of our Milky Way out to its far outer regions.

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, launching & nbsp; in 2009. WISE scans the entire cloud in infrared light, picking up the hundreds of millions of objects and producing millions of images. NASA [19659002] Why does this matter?

" Somewhat to our surprise, we found that in 3D our collection of 1,339 Cepheid stars and the Milky Way's gas disk follow each other closely. " said the Gray. " Perhaps more importantly, in the Milky Way's outer regions, we found that the S-like stellar disk is in a progressively twisted spiral pattern. "

" This new morphology provides a crucially updated map for studies of our galaxy's stellar motions and the origins of the Milky Way's disk, " said Dr. Deng Licai, senior researcher at NAOC and co-author of the paper

What causes the warp ?

For the past 50 years, there have been indications that the hydrogen clouds in the Milky Way are warped. Astronomers have observed other galaxies which showed similarly progressively twisted spiral patterns in their outer regions. " Combining our results with those other observations, we concluded that the Milky Way's warped spiral pattern is most likely caused by torques, or rotational forcing, by the massive inner disk, said Dr. Liu. Chao, senior researcher and co-author of the paper

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes

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Artist's impression of the warped and twisted Milky Way disk Chen Xiaodian

How do you measure something you are inside of? We've all seen countless Images of our own Milky Way, but you always considered this: none of them are real. All are artists' impressions of what astronomers think the Milky Way is probably like.

We now know that the Milky Way is not Flat Astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia have just published a paper in Nature Astronomy which reveals the Milky Way to be warped, twisted and flared 'far away from the Milky Way's center.

"We usually think of spiral galaxies as being quite flat, like Andromeda which you can easily see through a telescope," says Professor Richard de Grijs, a co-author and astronomer from Macquarie University [19659035] The Andromeda Galaxy, or M31 Getty

How does the Milky Way work?

When viewed from a great distance, the Milky Way galaxy would look like a thin disk or stars that orbit once every few hundred million years around its central region. The estimated 300 billion stars, together with a mass of dark matter, provide the gravitational 'glue' to hold it all together, say the astronomers.

What causes the S-shaped warp?

What is warped are clouds in the outer galaxy. It's the change in the pull of gravity from the galaxy's inner region that causes the Milky Way's S-shaped warp. "It is not difficult to determine the distance from the Milky Way's outer gas disk without having a clear idea of ​​what that disk actually looks like," said Dr. Chen Xiaodian, a researcher at NAOC and lead author of the article. "However, we recently published a new catalog of well-behaved variable stars known as classical Cepheids, for which distances as accurate as 3 to 5% can be determined." RS Puppis is one of the brightest known Cepheid variable stars in The Milky Way Galaxy Hubble Space Telescope

Yellow bright giant and supergiant stars. Cepheid stars are often referred to as 'cosmic yardsticks' or 'standard candles', and much of what astronomers know about distances in the Universe is down to observations of these young pulsating stars. In the study, 1,339 Cepheids were studied, each up to 100,000 brighter than the Sun.

Cepheids pulse predictably, so changes in their luminosity can be used to obtain a highly reliable distance. The team used 'classic' Cepheids, which pulse over days or months. Cepheids were first discovered in 1912 by Henrietta Swan Leavitt at Harvard College Observatory after studying thousands of stars in the Magellanic Clouds, two dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way. Her work was then used by Edwin Hubble to determine that some nebula that could be seen from Earth were, in fact, distant galaxies. That data was then used to calculate that the more distant the galaxy, the faster it is moving away from us: the Hubble Constant, which describes the expanding Universe.

For the astronomers in China and Australia, data on these classic Cepheid stars The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), developed the first accurate 3D-dimensional picture of our Milky Way out to its outer regions.

NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE , launching in 2009. WISE scans the entire sky in infrared light, picking up the hundreds of millions of objects and producing millions of images. NASA

Why does this matter?

] "Somewhat to our surprise, we found that in 3D our collection of 1,339 Cepheid stars and the Milky Way's gas disk follow each other closely. This offers new insights into the formation of our home galaxy," said grijs. "Perhaps more importantly, in the Milky Way's outer regions, we found that the S-like stellar disk is warped in a progressively twisted spiral pattern."

"This new morphology provides a crucially updated map for studies of our galaxy's stellar motions and the origins of the Milky Way's disk, " said Dr. Deng Licai, senior researcher at NAOC and co-author of the paper

What causes the warp ?

For the past 50 years, there have been indications that the hydrogen clouds in the Milky Way are warped. Astronomers have observed other galaxies which showed similarly progressively twisted spiral patterns in their outer regions. "Combining our results with other observations, we concluded that the Milky Way's warped spiral pattern is most likely caused by torques, or rotational forcing, by the massive inner disk," said Dr. Liu Chao, senior researcher and paper author

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes

If you have this article, you might also like these: [19659003] Texas Claims The Third Dark Sky Sanctuary In The US Continues

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