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Tech & ScienceJust guess how much the Milky Way weighs

11:10  12 march  2019
11:10  12 march  2019 Source:   bgr.com

Hubble just spotted a never-before-seen galaxy hiding in plain sight

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The Sun is estimated to weigh just over 330,000 times as much as Earth, and the Milky Way is now estimated to weigh around 1.5 trillion times as much as the This new estimate of the Milky Way ’s weight falls within previous best- guesses , which ranged from 500 billion to 3 trillion solar masses.

Looking at the Milky Way 's elusive weight can be tricky, because much of its mass For instance, despite decades of attempts, astronomers have yet to determine exactly how much our galaxy weighs , with estimates Nobody can stick the Milky Way on a cosmic scale and just read out the result.

Just guess how much the Milky Way weighs © Provided by Penske Media Corporation Globular clusters surrounding the Milky Way (artist’s impressi

Judging the size of something is often best done when comparing it to other things, but that line of thinking tends to break down when you start talking about objects in space. Earth is huge, but not when you compare it to something like Jupiter, and Jupiter is tiny compare to our Sun, and our Sun is tiny when compared to… well you get the idea.

So, when you’re trying to measure the weight of something as large as a galaxy it can seem almost too abstract to even grasp. We’ve barely seen a sliver of what the Milky Way contains, but scientists are doing their best to offer a big-picture estimate of what our home galaxy contains and how much it all weighs.

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The Milky Way is even weightier than imagined. Using data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite, astronomers have determined the most accurate measurement of its mass: Our vast galaxy clocks in at 1.5 trillion solar masses.

There’s a lot of stuff in our fantastically gigantic home galaxy and now astronomers believe they can hazard a guess at what the enormous celestial object weighs .

Researchers using data from the Hubble Space Telescope and ESA’s Gaia galaxy mapping mission now believe they have a solid picture of the mass of the Milky Way. As you no doubt would have suspected, it’s very, very big.

(Related slideshow by Photo Services)

To put things in a way that us non-astronomers might have a better chance at grasping, the team has figured the mass of the galaxy in terms of how it compares to our own Sun. The Sun is estimated to weigh just over 330,000 times as much as Earth, and the Milky Way is now estimated to weigh around 1.5 trillion times as much as the Sun. For those wondering, the Earth is believed to weigh about 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds.

This new estimate of the Milky Way’s weight falls within previous best-guesses, which ranged from 500 billion to 3 trillion solar masses. But the science behind this new figure is believed to be the most accurate we can get with current technology.

You might wonder why figuring out the mass of the galaxy would be so difficult, especially when we can see and measure many of nearby stars and have detected thousands of exoplanets from which we can draw an estimate. Ultimately it comes down to dark matter, which scientists can’t directly observe but which makes up as much as 90% of the mass in our galaxy.

Without being able to see dark matter, the researchers came up with a workaround. As ESA notes in a new blog post, astronomers measured the speed at which clusters of stars at the edge of the galaxy move. Their speed offers a hint as to the total mass of the total galaxy, dark matter included, allowing them to calculate total mass without having to actually see everything that’s hiding within the Milky Way.

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