Is the Milky Way much larger than previously estimated?

March 11, 2015 4:19 PM

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Is the Milky Way much larger than previously estimated?

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50% larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. The research, conducted by an international team led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Prof. Heidi Jo Newberg, revisits astronomical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which, in 2002, established the presence of a bulging ring of stars beyond the known plane of the Milky Way.

“In essence, what we found is that the disk of the Milky Way isn’t just a disk of stars in a flat plane—it’s corrugated,” said Heidi Newberg, professor of physics, applied physics and astronomy in the Rensselaer School of Science. “As it radiates outward from the sun, we see at least four ripples in...

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