Calculations of the Milky Way’s mass turned out to be incorrect

A team of Chinese scientists from the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) has calculated the mass of the Milky Way: the previous figures were incorrect. The new study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, says that our galaxy is about 550 billion times the mass of the Sun.

Knowing the mass of the Milky Way is essential to understanding the dynamics of the galaxy. However, obtaining accurate information has been problematic due to limited observational capabilities.

The most recent data from the Guo Shoujing Telescope (LAMOST) and the Gaia satellite showed that the Milky Way’s weight is almost half (550 billion times the mass of the Sun) of what was previously reported (one trillion times the Sun). According to the experts, this means that there is much less dark matter in the galaxy than previously thought.

The advantages of this work are the large amount of spectroscopic data, which allows a three-dimensional image of the galaxy, its velocity and the amount of metal in each star.

Previously, a “galactic underworld” consisting of a giant cluster of dead stars and black holes was discovered in the Milky Way.

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Liam Johnson

Liam Johnson

Liam Johnson is an astronomer. He has a degree in astronomy. He has extensive experience writing about space: astrophysics, cosmology and celestial mechanics.

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