Milky Way, our galactic home with a diameter of about 100,000 light-years, has always been an interesting and mysterious region to study. And all types of new studies and discoveries about it always shock scientists and make them rethink what they explored about it till now. Recently, NASA’s Jet Laboratory found something out of the ordinary about the Milky Way that it has broken one of its spiral arms.
For those who don’t know what the Milky Way looks like, it’s a circular galactic body with tentacles in spiral form. Spiral arms of the Milky Way shelter a large number of existing and emerging stars. According to research published last month in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, this phenomenon is not frequent because the Sagittarius arm has a pitch angle of about 12 degrees.
Scientists describe that one broken spiral arm of the galaxy as akin to a splinter drawn on the piece of wood in a press release. According to NASA, this broken arm stretches out over about 3,000 light-years. So, it also points out that similar structure breakpoints in arms are also present in other observed galaxies.
NASA’s new 3-D look on our galaxy comes into light when they compare and examine the data based on NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope and European Space Agency’s Gaia mission (measures stellar motion and distances).
Where does this discovery lead us about Milky Way?
According to Space.com, NASA claims that this latest discovery of the shattered arm of the celestial body leads us to uncover many mysteries about the universe. For example, it may help us to explain how the Milky Way arrived and the history behind the corner of the universe. And NASA astronomers could take advantage of this giant observatory.
Now, NASA’s new focus is the region around the galaxy Sagittarius arms because this amazing celestial structure of the Milky Way may include the Eagle Nebula (Pillar of Creation), Omega Nebula, Lagoon Nebula, and Trifid Nebula.
“In the end, it reminds us that there are numerous uncertainties regarding the large-scale structure of the Milky Way and we have to look in detail to understand the bigger picture,” said Robert Benjamin, astrophysicist and study co-author at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. “This structure is a small piece of the Milky Way, but it could tell us something significant about the galaxy as a whole.”
Hope that this latest discovery might lead scientists to a glimpse of a broader reality throughout.