Ripples and not Rings in the Disk of the Milky Way: Galaxy’s Structure

corrugated_milkyway

As per the latest astronomical research, the galactic disk is molded into many concentric ripples, which makes our Milk Way more than 50% larger than currently estimated. According to the study led by Professor Heidi Jo Newberg at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, there exists a circle of stars which is protruding towards to the outside of the Milky Way. The conclusion has been drawn by re-visiting the data that was gathered from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey three years ago.

Initially it was thought that the Milky Way disk is flat however, now it is believed to be corrugated, added Professor Newberg. As the disc moves outward from the sun, the space scientists observed four ripples in the galactic disk and they assume that the pattern could be found all through the disk.

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Yan Xu, space scientist at the National Astronomical Observatories, China said that the findings prove that features, which were initially thought to be rings, are not so rather are a part of the galactic disk. The discovery has also altered the assumed width of the Milky Way from 100,000 light years to 150,000 light years.

rippling_contour_milkyway_2

Astronomers have always observed the diminishing of Milky Way stars nearly 50,000 light years from the center of the galaxy and then there happened to be a presence of a bulging ring of stars at nearly 60,000 light years from the center. Nevertheless, with the current finding, the researchers concluded that it was the effect of a ripple in the disk and not appearance of the ring.

Source: [Discovery] [Phys.org]

About Pooja Kashyap

A CPD certified Fitness Trainer, Pooja also likes to spend time reading and blogging the latest research and discoveries in science and how technology is shaping the world. Besides writing, she enjoys reviewing books and taking interviews of creative/innovative people. Currently, she is located in Noida, India, where she actively participates in marathons as well. She is also on Quora l Twitter and LinkedIn.