Friday, January 23, 2009

Milky Way is much bigger, faster than experts thought

We used to think our galaxy, the Milky Way, was smaller than our neighbor the Andromeda galaxy, but it turns out we're about the same size, according to a BBC report.

As it turns out, the latest estimate (by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) ads 50 percent to the galaxy's mass, 15 percent to its width and has us spinning at 568,000 miles per hour (the previous estimate was 492 thousand).

What all this means is that some civilization, billions of years into the future is in for a bigger galactic firework show. At its new size and speed, Mark Reid of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told science Friday we can expect the Milky Way to collide with Andromeda sooner than expected, and more violently.

(Photo courtesy NASA... no, that's not the Milky Way… it's Andromeda)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.