Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Mass of Milky Way?

According to scientists, new measurements have been made regarding our galaxy, The Milky Way . Space.com has the article.

Scientists have dramatically revised the mass of the Milky Way, saying our home galaxy is half again as heavy as previously thought. The Milky Way is now on par with the nearby Andromeda Galaxy in terms of heft. The Milky Way spins a lot faster than was thought, too.

....

These high-precision measurements, presented here today at the 213th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, indicate that the galaxy's speed at the position of our solar system (at a distance of 28,000 light-years from the galactic center) is about 600,000 mph (970,000 kph) to 100,000 mph (160,000 kph) faster than previously thought.

That increase in speed increases the Milky Way's mass by 50 percent, said team member Mark Reid of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and that added heft makes our galaxy a much more serious contender against Andromeda.


The interesting thing, as pointed out in the comments too, is that 50% reevaluation of figures regarding mass and speed of Earth.. is way too much! What is the state of Astronomy or astrophysics to be specific? Are the instruments that unreliable that the next 'new' instrument revises up the figures by such huge amount? Does it not question the whole range of figures and measurements that we have had till date? Were we wrong when it comes to analyzing space?

All those models whereby supposedly we would have been smashed by Andromeda - wrong now? after all Milky Way is almost at par with Andromeda now. Now we should be the ones 'gulping down' Andromeda eh?

Suddenly the space-time instant that I am now in.. seems void.

1 comment:

Me said...

'Suddenly the space-time instant that I am now in.. seems void.'

Oh for a moment thats a weirdly good feeling=)