‘Milky Way ties with neighbour in galactic arms race’
The Andromeda galaxy, our nearest large neighbour, is roughly the same size as the Milky Way, astronomers have found, putting the “gravitational arms race to rest”. It had been thought that Andromeda was two to three times the size of the Milky Way, and that our own galaxy would ultimately be engulfed by our supposedly bigger neighbour, researchers said. However, the latest research evens the score between the two galaxies. The study found the weight of the Andromeda is 800 billion times heavier than the Sun, on par with the Milky Way.
The study used a new technique to measure the speed required to escape a galaxy. “We had thought there was one biggest galaxy and our own Milky Way was slightly smaller but that scenario has now completely changed,” said Prajwal Kafle, astrophysicist from the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research. “It’s really exciting that we’ve been able to come up with a new method and suddenly 50 years of collective understanding of the local group has been turned on its head,” Kafle said.
According to Geraint Lewis, astrophysicist at University of Sydney, it was exciting to be at a time when the data …read more