August 23, 2012 |
Our Milky Way is, by and large, a run-of-the-mill galaxy except for one thing. Actually, except for two things: the large and small Magellanic Clouds orbiting it. Astronomers had previously not seen such dwarf galaxies orbiting another spiral galaxy like ours, leading many to believe that the Milky Way was unique in this respect. But a new study from Australia suggests that although such complicated systems are not common, they are also not unique. Aaron Robotham of the University of Western Australia and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and his team used radio telescopes operated by the Australian node of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research and the Australian Astronomical Observatory to search for similar galaxies in the southern skies.
January 24, 2013 |
When humans gaze up at the night sky, they may view the fuzzy streak of the Milky Way and contemplate their place in the universe. When dung beetles see the Milky Way, their thoughts turn to keeping their food source away from other insects. Scientists have found that these inch-long creatures use the glowing edge of the galaxy to guide them as they roll their balls of dung across the African landscape. The report, published online Thursday by the journal Current Biology, provides the first documentation of animals using the Milky Way for navigation.
August 29, 1985 |
Numerous readers have requested recipes for the guacamole served at Milky Way restaurant on Pico Boulevard. Naturally, we were curious about the guacamole too, because Steven ("ET") Spielberg's mother runs the restaurant. So we took flight to the Milky Way. And, yes, we met Spielberg's mother, Leah Adler, a vivacious, cheerful, competent woman who rules the Milky Way with the regal air of Queen Elizabeth--The First.
May 31, 2012 |
The Milky Way is set to collide with its closest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, astronomers working with the Hubble Space Telescope said Thursday. Galactic residents need not brace for impact just yet, however: The predicted collision would take place in 4 billion years. Andromeda, officially known as Messier 31, or M31, is located about 2.5 million light-years away from the Milky Way - which would make it our closest fellow spiral galaxy. Spiral galaxies have flat, rotating, disc-shaped bodies with spiral arms anchored by a supermassive black hole at the center.
May 30, 2012 |
White dwarf stars are dying stars - burned-out cinders that have exhausted the hydrogen that sustains them. But scientists may soon count on these stellar flameouts to unravel the history of the Milky Way. In a study published online Wednesday by the journal Nature, astronomer Jason Kalirai described a new technique for calculating the masses and ages of old stars based on the masses of the white dwarfs they have become. The new information will help researchers better understand the formation of Earth's galaxy.
October 6, 2012 |
Squinting into the dark heart of the Milky Way, astronomers have discovered a star that orbits closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy than any other star yet observed. The relatively dim star, known as S0-102, is so close that it takes just 11.5 years to circle the black hole at speeds as high as 5,000 kilometers per second - or 1.7% as fast as the speed of light. The previous record-holder, S0-2, took 16 years to make its way around. A black hole is a star whose mass has collapsed to a point called a singularity.