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.
December 10, 2008 |
After 16 years of research, teams of American and European scientists have compiled the most complete portrait of the gigantic black hole at the center of the Milky Way, plotting its gravity-bending mass as being equivalent to a staggering 4 million suns. The researchers from Germany and UCLA also pinpoint the distance to the center of the galaxy at 27,000 light-years.
May 17, 2008 |
Astronomers have discovered the youngest known supernova in the Milky Way galaxy, still just a baby at 140 years old. The scientists, who announced their findings Wednesday, used a radio observatory in New Mexico and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in space to determine when the supernova occurred. They dated the event to around 1868. Before this, the youngest supernova in the Milky Way was thought to have occurred around 1680. A supernova is the catastrophic explosion of a star that releases an extraordinary amount of energy, enough to outshine an entire galaxy.
October 15, 2005 |
Dozens of massive stars, destined for short but brilliant lives, were born less than a light-year from the Milky Way's central black hole, one of the most hostile environments in our galaxy, astronomers reported Thursday. Researchers using the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory and other instruments believe there is a safe zone around black holes, a big dust ring where stars can form.
August 20, 2005 |
From Earth, the Milky Way is a band of stars that lights up the night sky. From outside the galaxy looking in, astronomers say, it's an entirely different picture. Astronomers say a bar of stars cuts through the center of the galaxy that includes the sun and Earth. "We're pretty certain of the extent and orientation of this bar because we got more data than anybody else ... by a long shot," said Edward G.
September 27, 2003 |
Our Milky Way galaxy is a cannibal. A new view shows it is voraciously consuming one of its smaller galactic neighbors. The violent stretching, ripping and swallowing of the neighboring Sagittarius galaxy is not visible to human eyes because that galaxy is on the other side of the Milky Way and is obscured by numerous stars and clouds of dust. But a new infrared view of the skies taken by the Two Micron All Sky Survey, or 2MASS, reveals the destruction in vivid detail.