Scientists working with data from the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys' Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) have discovered a "fossil galaxy" hidden in the depths of our own Milky Way.
Figuring out how much energy permeates the center of the Milky Way — a discovery reported in the journal Science Advances — could yield new clues to the fundamental source of our galaxy's power, said L. Matthew Haffner of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
There's an unusual paradox hampering research into parts of the Milky Way. Dense gas blocks observations of the galactic core, and it can be difficult to observe in visible light from our vantage point.
Though mighty, the Milky Way and galaxies of similar mass are not without scars chronicling turbulent histories. University of California, Irvine (UCI) astronomers and others have shown that clusters of supernovas can cause the birth of scattered, eccentrically orbiting suns in outer stellar halos, upending commonly held notions of how star systems have formed and evolved over billions of years.
The Milky Way isn't like other barred spiral galaxies. Instead of a nice, tidy flat disc, it has a kink in its spine, a twist in its swagger. As we have long known, and two separate studies recently confirmed, the Milky Way is seriously warped around the edges, a strange idiosyncrasy that's been puzzling astronomers for years.
In a wild galaxy over half a billion light-years away, astronomers have detected molecular oxygen. It's only the third such detection ever outside the solar system – and the first outside the Milky Way.
A titanic, expanding beam of energy sprang from close to the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way just 3.5 million years ago, sending a cone-shaped burst of radiation through both poles of the Galaxy and out into deep space.
Astronomers have created the most precise map to date of the Milky Way by tracking thousands of big pulsating stars spread throughout the galaxy, demonstrating that its disk of myriad stars is not flat but dramatically warped and twisted in shape.