Latest Study Shows That Milky Way is Getting Bigger

Cristina Martinez- Lombilla, a PhD candidate studying at Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in Spain stated that the Milky Way, the galaxy all of us inhabit, might be getting bigger. She submitted the findings of her team last April 3 at Liverpool’s European Week of Astronomy and Space Science. 

The Solar System is found in one of the sections in the disc of a debarred galaxy also known as the Milky Way. It has about 100,000 light years width and thickness. Our home galaxy composed of hundred billion stars that have massive amounts of dust and gas, all interacting and intermingled by the pressure of gravity. 

This interaction verifies the character, shape or feature of a galaxy that might be irregular, elliptical or spiral. As a debarred spiral, Milky Way includes disc wherein dust, gas and stars lay typically in a flat plane that arms extending from a main bar. 

Milky Way disc is stars of diverse ages. Big, blue, hot stars are extremely luminous and have a short lifespan, whereas lower mass stars end up redder and fainter and might survive for billions of years. These short-lifespan stars are located in the galaxy’s disc, wherein new stars keep on forming, whereas older stars takeover of the hump in the region of the galactic centre and within the halo which surrounds the disc. 

A number of star forming areas are located at the outer portion of the disc, galaxy formation models predict that these new stars will increase the dimension of galaxy they live in little by little. One issue in establishing the Milky Way feature and shape is that people live in it, so astronomers look at the same galaxies somewhere else as an analogue for our own. 

Martinez and her associates set out to ascertain whether other spiral galaxies akin to the Milky Way actually getting bigger, and what this signifies for us and our galaxy. The team utilized SDSS ground based telescope for visual data, and 2 space telescopes Spitzer and GALEX for near-ultra violet and new- infrared facts correspondingly, to look in feature of the motions and colors of the stars in disc located in other galaxies. 

Martínez-Lombilla tells: "The Milky Way is pretty big already. But our work shows that at least the visible part of it is slowly increasing in size, as stars form on the galactic outskirts. It won't be quick, but if you could travel forward in time and look at the galaxy in 3 billion years' time it would be about five percent bigger than today."