Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Bar at Milky Way's heart revealed

Filed under
Sci/Tech

The Milky Way is not a perfect spiral galaxy but instead sports a long bar through its centre, according to new infrared observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Galaxies come in a wide variety of shapes usually thought to be produced by gravitational interactions with nearby objects. Some spiral galaxies look like pinwheels, with their arms curving out from a central bulge, while others have a straight bar at their centres.

Radio telescopes detected gas that hinted at a bar at the heart of the Milky Way in the late 1980s. A decade later, observations with the near infrared survey 2MASS bolstered the case for a bar, but dust in the centre of the galaxy obscured the observations.

Now, astronomers have used Spitzer to peer through that dust at slightly longer wavelengths, observing 30 million stars in the galactic plane in the region around the centre of the galaxy.

They found that the central bar was much longer than previous observations had suggested - reaching about half the distance between the galaxy's centre and our Sun. The bar is estimated to stretch a total of about 27,000 light years from end to end.

"It is a major component of our galaxy and has basically remained hidden until now," says team member Ed Churchwell, an astronomer at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, US. "The fact that it's large means it's going to have a major effect on the dynamics of the inner part of our galaxy."

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Munich Switching to Windows from Linux Is Proof That Microsoft Is Still an Evil Company

Reports about the city of Munich authorities that are considering the replacement of Linux with Microsoft products mostly comes from one man, the Deputy Mayor of Munich, who is also a long-term self-declared Windows fan. Munich is the poster child for the adoption of a Linux distribution and the replacement of the old Windows OS. It provided a powerful incentive for other cities to do the same, and it's been a thorn in Microsoft's side for a very long time. The adoption of open source software in Munich started back in 2004 and it took the local authorities over 10 years to finish the process. It's a big infrastructure, but in the end they managed to do it. As you can imagine, Microsoft was not happy about it. Even the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, tried to stop the switch to Linux, but he was too late to the party. Read more

Dangling the Linux Carrot

Sometimes the direct sell method isn’t the best way to close the deal. How do you think the whole “play hard to get” thing got traction throughout the years? That method is successful in any number of applications. And really, I wasn’t wearing my Linux Advocacy hat that evening…I was just a guy relaxing after a day’s work. Read more

Red Hat Sets New 12-Month High at $61.97 (RHT)

They now have a $70.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $57.00. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Red Hat has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $63.50. Read more

Systemd 216 Piles On More Features, Aims For New User-Space VT

Lennart Poettering announced the systemd 216 release on Tuesday and among its changes is a more complete systemd-resolved that has nearly complete caching DNS and LLMNR stub resolver, a new systemd terminal library, and a number of new commands. The systemd 216 release also has improvements to various systemd sub-commands, an nss-mymachines NSS module was added, a new networkctl client tool, KDBUS updates against Linux 3.17's memfd, networkd improvements, a new systemd-terminal library for implementing full TTY stream parsing and rendering, a new systemd-journal-upload utility, an LZ4 compressor for journald, a new systemd-escape tool, a new systemd-firstboot component, and much more. Read more