Well, even though some of you might already know it, I have to break it to you – none of the Milky Way galaxy images are real. And that because we can’t take a photo or measure our home galaxy since we live inside it. So, all the photos depicting the Milky Way are either computer simulations or pics of alien galaxies that are considered similar to ours.
Now, scientists came up with the most accurate 3D map of our galaxy, and it seems that Milky Way is “warped and twisted,” and it’s nothing like we’ve imagined until now.
“We usually think of spiral galaxies as being quite flat, like Andromeda which you can easily see through a telescope,” says Professor Richard de Grijs from the Macquarie University, but that’s not the reality with Milky Way. According to the scientist, Milky Way is not flat, but it is “warped and twisted and flared” far away from its core.
Milky Way Is A “Warped and Twisted” Galaxy
“It is notoriously difficult to determine distances from the Sun to parts of the Milky Way’s outer gas disk without having a clear idea of what that disk actually looks like. However, we recently published a new catalog of well-behaved variable stars known as classical Cepheids, for which distances as accurate as 3 to 5% can be determined,” added Dr. Chen Xiaodian from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“Somewhat to our surprise, we found that in 3D our collection of 1,339 Cepheid stars and the Milky Way’s gas disk follow each other closely. That offers new insights into the formation of our home galaxy. Perhaps more importantly, in the Milky Way’s outer regions, we found that the S-like stellar disk is warped in a progressively twisted spiral pattern,” de Grijs added.
According to the new 3D map of our galaxy, Milky Way is a “warped and twisted” galaxy, and “this new morphology provides a crucial updated map for studies of our galaxy’s stellar motions and the origins of the Milky Way’s disk,” said Dr. Deng Licai from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.