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

antlia

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.

HI4PI maps Milky Way's neutral hydrogen

Galaxies

Astronomers Map Milky Way in Incredible Detail

Astronomers have mapped neutral atomic hydrogen, which profuses the space between stars, in unprecedented detail to create a beautiful radio-wavelength portrait of the Milky Way.

Milky Way Galaxy, NASA / JPL-Caltech

Science-based Q&A

What percentage of our galaxy’s stars move in retrograde orbits?

Do astronomers have any idea what percentage of our galaxy’s stars move in retrograde orbits? The short answer is yes, a very small percentage. But the long answer is more interesting. First, let’s agree what we mean by “retrograde.” If you were to look down on the solar system from…

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