Astronomers from the Michigan University have recently revealed that the Milky Way has a halo made of gas that rotates at huge speeds.
It used to be commonly thought that the disk of the galaxy was the only thing spinning, while the hot gas remained in place. However, in a study published in the Astrophysical Journal, experts demonstrated that the hot gas halo not only rotates, but does so at approximately the same speed as the disk.
The study was supported by NASA, and it used data from the European Space Agency’s telescope, Newton.
It was found that the external circle of the Milky Way galaxy spins at 400,000 miles per hour.
The spinning of the halo carries clues to how the Milky Way came to be. It shows that these hot atmospheric regions are the source for a lot of the matter present in the disk.
Our galaxy is a spiral one. The central par is round and comprised of old stars. The disk is composed of two spiral arms that spread out from the center, and it has mainly young stars. Our solar system is also a young one.
The third, mysterious part is the gas halo, which reaches very high temperatures. It is many times bigger than the disk, and it is made of ionized plasma.
Now that the astronomers observed the spinning motion, this discovery will explain how the Milky Way took birth and how it will transform in the future.
Another recent study reveals that a third of the planet cannot see the Milky Way, as some parts of the Earth are directly affected by light pollution. These areas include Western Europe, North America, and other developed regions.
But it’s not all bad news. Unlike other types of pollution, light pollution is easily reversible. It could be reduced by using special, energy effective light bulbs and drawing the blinds at night time to keep the light from beaming out.
People are kindly asked to use light only if they need it, to switch off the light when they’re not using it and to avoid artificial lighting.
Light pollution makes it difficult to explore the sky; it disorientates birds, and it affects human health by disturbing the body’s day/night rhythm and contributing to insomnia.
Image Source – Wikipedia