A couple random headlines caught my eye this morning:
By size alone, it’s “in the top percentile of all the galaxies that exist,” says Joss Bland-Hawthorn, an astronomer at the University of Sydney who helped compile the galaxy’s vital statistics for a 2016 article in the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He puts the Milky Way’s mass at a hefty 1.0 trillion to 1.6 trillion times that of the sun, outweighing the vast majority of its peers by a factor of 10 to more than a million and greatly outshining them as well.
Who knew? Certainly not me. Much, much more about types of galaxies and the detection of “ultra-faint dwarf galaxies” at the link.
I’m enjoying the phrase “ultra-faint dwarf galaxies.”
Meanwhile, on a smaller scale, this:
“Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That’s roughly how much unexpected mass we detected,” said lead author Peter B. James
Really? That’s pretty big. I wonder what would happen if a chunk of metal that big happened to hit the Earth tomorrow. The one that zapped the dinosaurs was, what, about fifty miles in diameter? This one was about an order of magnitude bigger.
And it hit the little Moon. Wow. Must have been quite an event.
Unless it didn’t. An alternate hypothesis for the mass is offered at the link.