Milky Way galaxy corrugated, potentially 50 percent bigger

March 11, 2015 6:38 PM

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The study, led by Heidi Jo Newberg, an astronomer at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., is a reinterpretation of data collected as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The 2012 survey helped astronomers locate a ring of stars, existing just off the plane of the Milk Way's disk.

But the latest study suggests the ring of stars isn't distinct from the galactic disk, but part of it -- and that there are three other ripples just like it. The analysis also posits that the width of the Milky Way is not 100,000 light-years across, but 150,000.

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