Layout of the Galaxy Arms

Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : Layout of the Galaxy Arms

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Message 1455950 - Posted: 21 Dec 2013, 4:56:46 UTC

I ran across this story about a debate over the number of spiral arms in the galaxy (2 versus 4):

The paper is here.

Thing is, I remember seeing charts showing pretty clearly there are more than two. I dug up the refs:

Taylor & Cordes 1993
and Cordes 2004 which you can see on page 6 here.

But I couldn't dig up a ref for the study that found only two arms.

For no particular reason I made a gif of the structures given by the 3 papers above:

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Profile Bob DeWoody

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Message 1456555 - Posted: 23 Dec 2013, 7:17:30 UTC

It is hard to determine from our point of view what the exact shape of our galaxy is. For a long time it was thought that the Milky Way resembled the Andromeda galaxy but was somewhat smaller.

I think now the commonly held theory suggests the shape is a barred spiral.

Bob DeWoody

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Message 1456655 - Posted: 23 Dec 2013, 15:37:15 UTC

Nature World News says:

"The 12-year-long study of massive stars in the Milky Way conducted by Red MSX Source (RMS) survey led by University of Leeds astronomers scoured the galaxy for massive young stellar objects, which are uncommonly large. These massive stars [live] shorter lives than their lower mass counterparts, which astronomers utilized when conducting their survey. As these massive stars die relatively quickly, they are only found in the arms of the galaxy where they formed; they have no time to move elsewhere."

"Research done in the 1950s concluded that our galaxy has four spiral arms, based on the clouds of gas in which new stars form. But a later analysis by the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope that scoured the Milky Way with its infrared scope revealed about 110 million stars, but only evidence of two spiral arms."

Both surveys were looking for different things though.


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Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : Layout of the Galaxy Arms

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