"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."
Monday, August 22, 2005
(Astrobiology Magazine) With the help of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have conducted the most comprehensive structural analysis of our galaxy and have found tantalizing new evidence that the Milky Way is much different from your ordinary spiral galaxy.
Using an orbiting infrared telescope scientists were able to validate that our Milky Way, long thought to be a simply spiral galaxy is in fact a bar galaxy. Although this doesn't change the fate of our homeworld Earth (let alone the solar system) this is an important event none-the-less as scientists know very little about how bar galaxies operate, although theories abound about how this type of galaxy can exist.
(Centre Daily) While some other galaxies have bars at the center, many do not. Bars are believed to be caused by the collective gravitational effect of stars that are in odd orbits, tugging on each other, said Michael Skrutskie, a professor of astronomy at the University of Virginia.
"We are fairly ignorant about the structure of our galaxy," he said. "We are starting to learn a lot about it. (The new paper) is the latest installment." (Source)
One theory that scientists seem fairly confident on is that the bar is composed of ancient suns red stars, spanning about 27,000 light years in length. Although there is little current information about bar galaxies in general, being inside one allows scientists to observe how they operate and may lead to some unanswered questions.
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