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Galaxy

— Space

Study lends support to prevailing model of Milky Way structure

Results from a new technique designed to map the structure of the Milky Way appear to support the four spiral arm model of our galaxy. A team of researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, used data collected by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft to pinpoint star clusters located in the resource rich environment of the spiral arms, and use them as markers to trace the structure of our galaxy.

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— Space

Astronomers discover the biggest thing in the Universe

There's some pretty big stuff out there in the Universe, but how big is the biggest? According to a team of Hungarian-US scientists led by Lajos Balazs, the largest regular formation in the Universe is a ring of nine galaxies 7 billion light years away and 5 billion light years wide. Though not visible from Earth, the newly discovered feature covers a third of our sky.

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— Space

New study tracks the death of our Universe

A new study has measured 200,000 galaxies in an effort to chart the rate at which our Universe is outputting energy, and effectively dying. The study is part of the larger Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) project, a comprehensive spectroscopic survey seeking to create a model of energy production by the Universe, both in the present day and in times past.

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— Space

New map reveals a third of the stars in the Milky Way have dramatically changed orbit

It's easy to think of stars as being fixed in place, because that's how we see them in the sky. But like Earth and the other planets, they have orbits. And it turns out those orbits can change dramatically. In creating a new map of the Milky Way as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), scientists recently discovered that around 30 percent of the stars in our galaxy have done exactly that – they've moved into a totally new orbit.

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— Space

Herschel images present a stunning insight into the distribution of matter in our galaxy

Three stunning new images from ESA's Herschel Space Observatory are providing new insights into how matter is distributed in our galaxy. Observations made by the orbital telescope have led astronomers to conclude that our galaxy is threaded with filamentary structures similar to those featured in the newly-released images, the smallest of which stretches across 170 light years of space.

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— Space

Most comprehensive map of the universe yet could pinpoint dark matter

Astrophysicists from the University of Waterloo have compiled the most comprehensive 3D map of our cosmic surroundings to date. The map describes how ordinary matter is distributed in space up to a distance of about a billion light-years away from us. This survey will help scientists better understand the distribution of dark matter and explain why, to some extent, galaxies are moving erratically with respect to us. Read More
— Space

Dark matter may not be completely dark at all

New studies by astronomers are slowly throwing some light on dark matter, the invisible and mysterious stuff that scientists believe makes up much of the universe. For the first time, astronomers believe they've observed the interactions of dark matter via a factor other than the force of gravity. Read More
— Space

Astronomers discover supernova subset which could allow for more acurate galactic measurements

NASA astronomers may have found a way to take more precise measurements of the distances between galaxies. Currently, astronomers use a certain type of supernova, known as a Type la supernova, to gauge the distances between galaxies and from this, the rate at which the universe is expanding. The reason that this particular breed of supernova is singled out for this purpose, is that when they explode, they give out a very similar amount of light. Read More
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