As if our galaxy, the Milky Way, was’t mind-bogglingly big, new research shows that it is actually 150,000 lightyears wide, after having been previously thought to be only 100,000 lightyears wide.
An international team of researchers came to this conclusion after revisiting astronomical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and finding that the galactic disk of the Milky Way is actually contoured into several concentric ripples.
“In essence, what we found is that the disk of the Milky Way isn’t just a disk of stars in a flat plane — it’s corrugated,” said Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Heidi Jo Newberg, who led the team,”It’s very similar to what would happen if you throw a pebble into still water — the waves will radiate out from the point of impact.”
The data that represents the pattern of ripples cannot be seen but it continues throughout the galaxy. These findings all support recent research thats been done. The ripples that were discovered could eventually be used to find out the amount of dark matter in the galaxy. The pebble that is referred too could be another galaxy, a small one, passing through ours. Only about four disks of stars can be seen but research confirms it stretches all the way to 150,000 lightyears.