A study published by an international group of researchers on arXiv preprint server reveals that the mass of the Milky Way Galaxy is 890 billion times than that of Sun. In order to study the mass of the galaxy, the researchers used a sophisticated model. As per the new study, the size of the Galaxy is estimated to be 256,000 light-years across.
According to the researchers, it is a difficult task to estimate the size, mass, and shape of the galaxy from within, as the Milky Way Galaxy is surrounded by a layer of interstellar gases and the occluding stars. The researchers, however, designed a model after gathering information from various sources which helped in understanding the movement of gases, stars and other materials around the galaxy. The scientists termed the movement as the ‘rotational curve’. The curve helped the scientists in understanding the dynamics of the galaxy and the distance between the galactic objects.
The researchers were able to distinguish between the spinning forces and the gravitational forces. The balance between the two forces helped the scientists in calculating the approximate masses and it is this balance that protects the objects from getting sucked inside a black hole. Therefore by calculating the balanced state, the team was able to calculate the mass of the objects. Then the researchers added up the total mass. However, they still need to include the mass of the dark matter which accounts for 93 per cent of the total galaxy mass. After adding up all the results, the researchers concluded that the mass of the galaxy is approximately 890 billion times that of the sun.
In the latest study published by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an oceanographer studied the movement of ocean currents around the Antarctic for three months. The study was conducted with the help of a southern elephant seal, who was deployed with a small hat-like instrument which was equipped with sensors. The study looked at the movement of Antarctic Circumpolar Current which influences the movement of warm water, which in turn has a major role in climate change. The study found that the “Antarctic Circumpolar Current flows in a loop around Antarctica, connecting the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans”. Scientists call this as the most important ocean currents in our climate system as it helps in the exchange of heat and other important properties among various oceans which it connects.