The Milky Way. Important information at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in California. Origin and internal skeleton.
The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, a vortex formed by stars, gas and dust in orbit around a black hole. It has a great central piece and two spiral arms that close around it at both ends. At least, this is what scientists believe based on different evidences.
Now, an international team of astronomers has just announced the discovery of a new and unusual structural element of our galaxy. A “bone” of gas and dust about 300 light-years long and a mass equivalent to 100,000 suns. Then, we are speaking about the first part of the skeleton of our galaxy, unknown until now.
Of course, they cannot be completely sure due to our position within the galaxy, not good for an accurate observation. However, with a real legion of astronomers scrutinizing every corner of the sky, sometimes a surprise is found.
And that is precisely what has happened now. A group of astronomers has identified a new unknown structure in the Milky Way. A kind of long stem of gas and dust that has been called “the bone”.
The work was presented yesterday at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society, held in California. “It’s the first time we get to see a piece of galactic skeleton,” says Alyssa Goodman of the Harvard-Smithsonian and lead author of the study.
Other spiral galaxies also show a kind of internal ‘skeleton’ that can be seen in the infrared. These peculiar structures have the appearance of long, thin filaments or “stems” that lie just between the spiral arms of the observed galaxies.
Also simulations on how a galaxy is born are showing this curious network of filaments inside the spiral disks. Astronomers are now convinced that they have found one of those “bones” inside our own galaxy.