In searching for the outer limits of our galaxy, astronomers have discovered more than 200 stars that form the edge of the Milky Way, the most distant of which has more than a million stars.years away, almost half way andromeda galaxy.
He The 208 stars the researchers identified are known as RR Lyrae Stars, which are stars with a brightness that can change as seen from Earth. These stars are usually old and brighten and dim at regular intervals, which is a mechanism that allows scientists to calculate how far away they are. are. When calculating the distance to these RR Lyrae stars, the The team found that the farthest of the group was located halfway between the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy, one of our cosmic next.door neighbors.
“This study is redefining what constitutes the outer limits of our galaxy,” said Raja GuhaThakurta in a Press release. GuhaThakurta is Professor and Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California Santa Cruz. “Our galaxy and Andromeda are so large that there is hardly any space between the two galaxies.”
The Milky Way galaxy consists of a few different parts, the main one being a thin spiral. disc around 100,000 light-years wide. EITHERyour home The solar system sits on one of the arms of this disk. An indoor and outdoor halo setting. the disk, and these halos contain some of the oldest stars in our galaxy.
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Previous studies have placed the edge of the outer halo at 1 million light-years from the Milky Way’s center, but based on the new work, the edge of this halo should be about 1.04 million light-years from the galactic center. Yuting Feng, a doctoral student at the university working with GuhaThakurta, led the study and is presenting this week’s findings at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.
“We were able to use these variable stars as reliable markers to pinpoint distances,” said Yuting Feng, a doctoral student at the university working with GuhaThakurta. “Our observations confirm the theoretical estimates of the size of the halo, so it is an important result.”
Space is vast and lonely.-but we can feel a little more comfortable knowing that our galactic neighbor is closer than we thought.
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