Off World

Scientists Can Now Weigh the Milky Way

Angelie HawksJune 3rd 2015
  • An international team of scientists led by Columbia University researcher Andreas Küpper used stars outside this disk, which orbit around the Milky Way in a stream-like structure, to weigh the Milky Way to high precision.
  • The researchers used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which scanned the sky of the Northern Hemisphere for about 10 years to create a comprehensive catalog of stars in the sky. The stream they tested the new technique on was produced by a globular cluster named Palomar 5, and had already been discovered in 2001 high above the Galactic disk.
  • In the future, the researchers aim to use more structures like the Palomar 5 stream to gain an even higher precision and to create the most realistic model of the Milky Way to date.

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