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Milky Way impression

Milky Way

The Milky Way’s Local Arm Is Longer Than We Thought

New maps of the Milky Way suggest the Local Arm that we call home is longer than expected — now upgraded to a major spiral feature (but not quite an arm).

Milky Way

What — and Where — Is the North Polar Spur?

Astronomers make the case that a gigantic ridge of gas sticking out of the galactic plane was blown out by a cluster of nearby supernovae.

Side-view of Heracles' remains

Milky Way

Astronomers Discover Galactic “Fossil” Inside the Milky Way

Thousands of stars that once belonged to an ancient galaxy are inside our own.

Like moths in the lamplight

Galaxies

Star Clusters Reveal the "Kraken" in the Milky Way's Past

Astronomers have reconstructed the Milky Way's merger history, finding that our galaxy has absorbed five large satellite galaxies in the last 12 billion years.

Planet-forming disk

Exoplanets

Close Encounters in the Milky Way — and What They Mean for Planets

New research shows stellar flybys are common in our galaxy’s crowded center. That could have both good and bad (but mostly bad) effects on growing planets.

Four sightlines through the Milky Way halo

Milky Way

The 10 Million-Degree Gas Around the Milky Way

New observations show ultra-hot gas around the Milky Way. Stellar explosions may have driven this gas out of our galaxy.

Magnetic field in the galactic center

Milky Way

Magnetism Rules in the Milky Way’s Core

Recent observations from the airborne SOFIA observatory show that magnetic fields — not gravity — govern the gas at the center of the Milky Way.

Star-forming outflow in a Milky Way-like galaxy

Milky Way

Is the Milky Way Throwing Out Forming Stars?

Some of the scant stars dwelling in the Milky Way's halo may have an unexpected origin: They may come from the galaxy itself.

The Milky Way's warp

Milky Way

The Milky Way’s Warped Tutu Twirls Every 600 Million Years

Astronomers have known for decades that our galaxy is warped. Now, they can follow the warp’s rotation as it travels around the galactic center.

Milky Way

Nearby Stellar Nurseries Ride a Giant Wave

Astronomers have found a gigantic, undulating wave of stellar nurseries in our galaxy, just outside the Sun’s orbit in the spiral disk.

warped galaxy disk

Milky Way

Warped Milky Way in 3D

Astronomers have used pulsating stars to trace the crooked shape of our galaxy’s disk.

Antlia 2 simulation

Milky Way

Did a Dwarf Galaxy Crash into the Milky Way?

A recent study suggests the dwarf galaxy Antlia 2 had a long-ago run-in with our galaxy, rippling and warping its disk. But not everyone agrees with that scenario.

Milky Way and globular clusters

Milky Way

The Milky Way Contains the Mass of 1.5 Trillion Suns

Astronomers are using Gaia and the Hubble Space Telescope to make the most precise measure of the Milky Way’s mass to date. The new result puts our galaxy on par with — if not more massive than — Andromeda.

Warped spiral galaxy ESO 510-13

Milky Way

The Milky Way Is Warped in More Ways Than One

Astronomers mapping out luminous stars across our galaxy's disk found that the Milky Way is warped — and multiple factors are twisting its shape.

ALMA image of quasar merger

Astronomy & Observing News

60-Second Astro News: A Carnivorous Quasar and a Galaxy Ghost

In astronomy news this week: The most luminous quasar known in the cosmos is devouring three galaxy companions, while a newly discovered ghostly satellite of the Milky Way hints at hordes more just waiting to be found.

Milky Way ancient merger

Galaxies

Ancient Merger Wreckage in the Milky Way

Mounting evidence indicates that our galaxy smashed up another smaller galaxy roughly 10 billion years ago.

Illustration of stars sprinting through our Galaxy

Milky Way

Some Stars Around Galaxy May Be From Elsewhere

Data from the Gaia satellite reveal 20 new high-speed stars, 13 of which appear to have originated outside of the Milky Way.

Artist's impression of galactic encounter's aftereffects

Milky Way

Pattern in Milky Way's Stars Suggests Recent Galactic Whack

An unexpected pattern in the Milky Way's disk of stars points to a recent whack from another galaxy.

Gaia's map of 1.7 billion stars in the Milky Way and beyond

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Gaia Maps 1.7 Billion Stars, Widens Cosmic Census

With its second data release, the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite has redefined the way we look at our galaxy.

Milky Way

New Mass Estimate for the Milky Way

Astronomers have observed the motion of distant star clusters to measure our galaxy’s mass. The new estimate places the Milky Way in the lightweight class of galaxies.

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