A Central Bar of the Milky Way Galaxy

[Milky Way, Artist's Concept]

Artist's Concept of the Milky Way, according to new studies by University of Wisconsin astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope of NASA.
Illustration credit: NASA/JPL, Caltech, R. Hurt (SSC)

From their massive survey of stars near the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy, these astronomers found evidence that the Milky Way probably has a definitive, large bar feature measuring about 27,000 light-years in length, making it look as shown in above illustration, where the position of our solar system is indicated. The survey sampled the light from an estimated 30 million stars in the Galactic plane.

These results give evidence that the Milky Way Galaxy is probably to be classified as a barred spiral galaxy of type SBb to SBc, or SB(rs)bc.


Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Last Modification: August 26, 2005