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Judi Lynn

(161,040 posts)
Wed Apr 1, 2020, 02:57 AM Apr 2020

Astronomers have finally found the edge of the Milky Way galaxy [View all]

By Andy Meek @aemeek
March 30th, 2020 at 11:14 PM

Astronomers from Durham University in England have made an exciting discovery about the galaxy that includes Earth — specifically, they’ve finally found its far edge.

Using nearby galaxies as a guide, astrophysicist Alis Deason and her colleagues have determined the exact diameter of the Milky Way to be 1.9 million light-years (with a margin of error of 0.4 million light-years). That’s according to a paper from the team, posted at arXiv.org, which is an open-access archive of tens of thousands of articles from academics and scientists. And this work is important, for reasons that include the future additional discoveries it will help astronomers make.

Rosemary Wyse, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University, told the publication ScienceNews about the new Milky Way measurement that it should “help astronomers tease out other galactic properties.” That’s a reference to the fact that, for example, the more we realize the true dimensions of the Milky Way, it gives us a better understanding of what (and how many) galaxies are revolving around it.

Right now, about 60 are known to surround the Milky Way, but the expectation is that this new discovery will lead to the identification of more.

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