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Our Milky Way galaxy is twice as large as previously thought?

annotated map showing Milky Way’s structure/NASA

From Mara Johnson-Groh at Astronomy:

Despite residing in it, it’s hard for us to know exactly how big the Milky Way is. But new research has found that our galaxy is bigger than previously thought. Using a large survey of stars instead of just models (as previous researchers did), astronomers have now determined the disk of our galaxy to be 200,000 light-years across — twice as large as was believed a decade ago.

With a process known as spectroscopy, researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and at the National Astronomical Observatories of Beijing studied the chemical composition of over 4,600 stars from two surveys, APOGEE and LAMOST, and mapped out which stars are part of the disk and which belong to the halo. The results, published May 7 in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, clearly show disk stars much farther from center of the galaxy than before. More.

Assuming that the distant stars taper off exponentially, they estimate that the Milky Way is only somewhat smaller than the Andromeda nebula at 220 000 light-years across.

Well, maybe there are more places for which we can theorize about and look for life. Adjusted measurements of size don’t pose the same problem as adjusted measurements of time do (See Globular Clusters story) because the time proposed from the Big Bang – 13 billion or so years – imposes a constraint on the events that can take place via proposed mechanisms. It does, however, flood the market for splintered lecterns. 😉

Also, those who make an issue of the “insignificance” of our galaxy may want to take note.

Note: We liked Johnson-Groh’s title, “Supersize me,” but did not steal it. ”

See also: Experimental physicist Rob Sheldon takes issue with News’s globular clusters story Sheldon: A physics model is always incomplete. Some missing piece of trivia will turn out to be important. So always take models, even elaborate expensive super-computer models, with many grains of salt. They are only as good as the assumptions that go into them.


Are globular clusters 4 billion years younger than previously thought? It “brings into question” more than the mechanics of galaxy formation. There is considerable distance between nine billion years and thirteen billion years. An equivalent claim for life on Earth would shave a billion years off the development of life. If it’s true, it’s true. But the finding doesn’t fill onlookers with confidence about the accuracy of dating systems.

Just more evidence tat shows our cosmic distance ladder beyond even 100 LY begins to get debatable so it is certain we can not be certain any light that is now visible from any object now up to billions of LY distance, departed from when the object was more than 1 LY per year elapsed subsequent to the cosmic inflation expansion event that if SPIRAL was no more than the year count = to LY distance to the nearest object whose light has been effected by cosmic expansion. so it caps the agree of the universe at thousands and falsifies all deep-time dependent scientific hypotheses like Neo Darwin Doctrine and LCDM-SCM that are built on the deep-time dependent assumption of the Copernican Principle. www.amazon.com/dp/B0181C4Q1W Pearlman
This is precious... "Using a large survey of stars instead of just models (as previous researchers did), astronomers have now determined the disk of our galaxy to be 200,000 light-years across — twice as large as was believed a decade ago." Previous models were 100,000 light years off? To put this in perspective: 1 light year = 9 trillion km or 6 trillion miles. Do the math. Ha! Then someone explain to me they have faith in Darwinist models for billions of years in fairy tales they spin of past history for macro-evolution. Lesson? In such large claims be skeptical. If... IF these scientist are correct, please don't lecture us this is how science works. Of course this is how it works! But not for Darwinist. Darwinist have their own special religion. Blind Darwinist refuse to comprehend that everything they've been indoctrinated in over the years may be off by 100% as well. As ENCODE projects keep morphing and former Darwinist "JUNK" DNA keeps spinning up new functions. And as more new discoveries take place, the distance from Darwinism to our new understandings of Codes of Life are like light years apart from antiquated Darwinist models and Central Dogma. DATCG
"...twice as large as was believed a decade ago." That's just a minor adjustment... 100% margin error is not a big deal, is it? Besides, they didn't say they knew it. Just believed it. Beliefs based on poor evidences may not last long. This one lasted a decade. Not bad. PaoloV
I cannot count the number of times I've read that everything we thought we knew about X is wrong. There's a difference between using a rule of thumb as an intellectual convenience and assuming it's "True" ... ScuzzaMan
If we're still at the stage of making 100% adjustments maybe we shouldn't lock in this new number just yet. aarceng
Increasing the size of a galaxy doesn't necessarily increase the number of life-supporting stars. Most stars in most galaxies cannot support life. vmahuna
Far-out stragglers, no significant shift to the overall mass estimate. KF kairosfocus
This is obviously due to President Trump that it's now a really yuge, bigly galaxy. Seversky

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