Milky Way

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We May Soon See Something 'No Human Has Ever Seen'

Scientists may reveal photo of Sagittarius A* black hole in Milky Way

(Newser) - Mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 10: You won't want to miss the chance to possibly see "something no human has ever seen before." That's how Popular Mechanics is framing the big reveal scientists are expected to make—a photo of Sagittarius A*, a black hole... More »

Our Milky Way Is Headed Toward a Violent 'Merger'

But we've got about 2 billion years to prepare

(Newser) - It'll be a fireworks show for the ages, but you won't be around to see it. Consider that a blessing in disguise: The display expected by astrophysicists at Durham University in the UK will only come as a nearby galaxy smashes into our own in about 2 billion... More »

Milky Way's Center Is a Black Hole 'Farm'

Researchers believe there are thousands

(Newser) - The center of our galaxy is teeming with black holes, sort of like a Times Square for strange super-gravity objects, astronomers have discovered. For decades, scientists theorized that circling in the center of galaxies, including ours, were lots of stellar black holes, collapsed giant stars where the gravity is so... More »

Nonstop Artificial Light Might Even Affect Your Bones

In a new study, mice became more frail, but only temporarily

(Newser) - Roughly one-third of the globe can no longer see the Milky Way thanks to artificial light at night. The impact of light pollution has long been obvious, but scientists are now exploring the role of constant exposure to light on health, and a study in the journal Current Biology adds... More »

1 in 3 Humans Can No Longer See the Milky Way

In the US, 99% of people live under light-polluted night skies

(Newser) - One in three humans can no longer see the Milky Way from their home, according to a paper published Friday in Science Advances . "We've lost some of our view into the cosmos," Chris Elvidge tells NPR . Elvidge, along with other researchers, created a updated "world atlas"... More »

Milky Way Is a 'Galactic Lightweight'

Same-sized neighbor Andromeda has twice the mass

(Newser) - If our galaxy were a boxer, it would have just slipped down a few weight classes—and would be no match for our neighbor Andromeda. New research has revealed that the Milky Way, while still mind-bogglingly vast, is only around half the weight of the Andromeda galaxy, which is about... More »

How Dark Matter Could End Life on Earth

By hurling comets at our planet: Harvard study

(Newser) - Dark matter seems to hold galaxies snugly together across the universe—but it could also hurl comets at Earth and threaten our entire species, according to a new study . This is based on a theory that there's a huge disk of dark matter lying on the central plane of... More »

We're About to Map the Milky Way

One of 'most ambitious space missions ever' begins

(Newser) - While you were sleeping, a truly massive undertaking got under way, one that the BBC terms "one of the most ambitious space missions in history." Europe's Gaia satellite—which has been two decades in the making—launched at 4:12am EST today, setting it on a course... More »

There Are Billions of Earth-Like Planets in Our Galaxy

At least 8.8 billion planets like ours in the Milky Way, study finds

(Newser) - Space is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone—not too hot and not too cold... More »

Scientists Spot 'Precursor to Life' in Deep Space

Milky Way chemical could help seed planetary life

(Newser) - Astronomers have spotted hints of a precursor to chemical to life about 1,000 light-years away, LiveScience reports. Detected in a star-forming region of the Milky Way, the chemical—called hydroxylamine—is theoretically able to mix with other compounds, form amino acids, and seed other planets with life. "It'... More »

Earth-Like Planet Spotted

KOI 172.02 orbits star like our sun

(Newser) - Less than two weeks after astronomers predicted they would find an Earth-like planet some time in 2013, the feat may have already been accomplished. Scientists this week announced at the 221st meeting of American Astronomical Society that the Kepler telescope has found a "super-Earth" whose radius is 1.5... More »

Milky Way Has 17B Planets the Size of Ours

And that's a conservative estimate

(Newser) - Before we start feeling too special about our home planet, scientists have a message: There are at least 17 billion planets the size of Earth in the Milky Way alone, reports. About 17% of our galaxy's stars have Earth-size exoplanets closely orbiting them—so 100 billion stars... More »

Milky Way: Home to 100B+ Planets

New study comes up with conservative estimate

(Newser) - Scientists have done a sort of "cosmic census," completing a new study that finds the Milky Way galaxy is home to 100 billion alien planets—and maybe even many more than that. "It's a staggering number, if you think about it," says the lead author.... More »

Prediction: We'll Discover 1st 'Earth Twin' in 2013

With 50B planets in Milky Way, astronomers think big discovery looms

(Newser) - With more than 800 exoplanets identified since 1995, many astronomers are predicting that 2013 will be the year that the first truly Earth-like planet is spotted, reports Space . Scientists have gotten ever closer to finding an alien Earth in recent years, identifying several in the right temperature range and others... More »

Bye-Bye, Milky Way —in Just 4B Years

Andromeda galaxy will smash into it

(Newser) - Our Milky Way is on a crash course with the (relatively) nearby Andromeda galaxy, and the two are scheduled to smash into each other—in just 4 billion years, reports the Christian Science Monitor . Actually, the two galaxies will collide three times over the following 2 billion years, eventually forming... More »

White Dwarfs Yield Key to Age of Ancient Stars

Astronomer used white dwarfs to calculate age of Milky Way's inner halo

(Newser) - Accurately measuring the age of low-mass, hydrogen burning stars is notoriously difficult, but now astronomers say they have come up with a technique for measuring those difficult stars using white dwarfs, reports the LA Times . A white dwarf is a star that has burned through all of its hydrogen, shed... More »

Milky Way Has Tens of Billions of Habitable Planets

These super-Earths are all over the galaxy, say scientists

(Newser) - Could aliens be hanging out in the Milky Way? A new discovery by astronomers shows they'd have plenty of possible homes in the galaxy, reports Reuters . The researchers found that tens of billions of planets reside in a habitable zone close to a star, allowing water to flow on... More »

Astronomers: Yep, Milky Way Is White

And it has a lot of planets

(Newser) - What does the Milky Way look like, from outside the Milky Way? It seems like an impossible question to answer, but astronomers found a way—and discovered in the process that the Milky Way is, as one might have guessed, white. "If you looked at new spring snow, which... More »

Local Black Hole About to Chow Down

Milky Way's super-massive black hole to devour gas cloud

(Newser) - The super-massive black hole at the heart of our galaxy is about to have a feast—and astronomers think it's going to be messy. A giant gas cloud has been spotted approaching the black hole, which lies some 27,000 light years from Earth. Scientists believe the cloud will... More »

Scientists Find Orphan Planets Without Stars

Astronomers discover 10 in Milky Way that don't orbit another body

(Newser) - They're outcasts on a galactic scale, rebels without a star: Astronomers think they have discovered 10 massive planets that defy a standard definition of what it means to be a planet: They orbit no star. What's more, the astronomers believe there are many, many more roaming free about... More »

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