Milky Way Is Less Massive (But No Less Beautiful) Than Previously Believed

June 12, 2016 4:00 am

New findings presented at the Canadian Astronomical Society conference show that the Milky Way galaxy has less mass than what astronomers previously believed. Specifically, our galaxy’s mass is equivalent to that of 700 billion suns (previous estimates were more like 1 trillion.) Researchers from McMaster University, who used a new modeling method, also reported that the Milky Way contains more dark matter than was previously calculated. These findings help improve researchers’ understanding of our galaxy’s past and future. Read more about the new measurements here. To honor the new findings, RealClearLife has curated five beautiful portraits of our galaxy.

Trees and giraffes silhouetted by the Milky Way in Masai Mara, Kenya. (Mark Gee/theartofnight/Solent/REX/Shutterstock) The Milky Way pictured above Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona. (Stephen Ippolito/REX Shutterstock) Starry sky and the Milky Way above Dolbadarn Castle in Llanberis, Wales. (Dylan Arnold/REX/Shutterstock) Milky Way captured over Broad Haven, with Church Rock in foreground, in Pembrokeshire, Britain. (Drew Buckley/REX/Shutterstock) 30-second-exposure of the Milky Way photographed from a barn in Cabot, Vermount. (Stephen Ippolito/REX/Shutterstock)

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