A Huge Hydrogen Halo Envelops The Milky Way

Gazing on 732,225 galaxies with the 2.5-meter telescope of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has revealed the veil of diffuse hydrogen gas enshrouding the Milky Way. After combining this staggering number of spectra — recorded patterns of wavelengths revealing clues about the nature of a cosmic target — astronomers Huanian Zhang and Dennis Zaritsky report the first detections of diffuse hydrogen wafting about in a vast halo surrounding the Milky Way. [Read More]

ALMA Weighs Black Hole 660 Million Times More Massive As The Sun

Just how big are black holes? Scientists have measured with exceptional accuracy a black hole that is about 660 million times as massive as our sun. It is also enveloped by a cloud of gas moving at about 1.1 million miles per hour. Scientists made the observations using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. Black holes are the most massive typically found at the centers of galaxies. They are so dense that their gravity pulls in anything that’s close enough, including light, explained Andrew J. [Read More]

Cosmic Emissions Expose The Milky Way's Age-old Center

Astronomers have found that the core 2000 light years within the Milky Way galaxy holds an ancient population of stars. The stars are over 10 billion years old and their orbits in space retain the early history of the formation of the Milky Way. For the first time, the international team of astronomers, led by Dr. Andrea Kunder of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, kinematically unravelled this ancient component from the stellar population that currently dominates the mass of the central Galaxy. [Read More]