When compared to the relative pinprick size of our humble solar system in front of the milky way, we all are certain that it is huge. Quite huge. Perhaps too huge than we had imagined. Previous estimations by NASA report that the galaxy spans about 100,000 light years across and at 6 trillion miles in a light year, it is virtually impossible to imagine that breadth. Now that huge number is about to go even more, as a new research states that the galaxy may be 50,000 light years more than the one theorized.
This new insight comes down to a thin strand of stars called the Monoceros right, which was discovered by scientists in 2002 surrounding the outer reaches of the milky way.
New analysis of data collected by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey measuring the distance and brightness of the stars on the edge of the milky way is bound to add more fire to the dispute. It showed, according to Klotz, “that the fringe of the disk is puckered into ridges and grooves of stars, like corrugated cardboard.”
“It looks to me like maybe these patterns are following the spiral structure of the Milky Way, so they may be related,” says astronomer Heidi Newberg to Discovery News.
Newberg came upon the new information while looking for evidence that star stream actually cannot be considered as a part of the galaxy. Finding evidence to the opposite left her amazed and implies that if the theory turns out to be right, the scale of the milky way will be considered 50% more than previously estimated.
The research is set to be published this week in the Astrophysical Journal, but hopes of the astronomers are already up that high resolution images of the ring of stars will be the basis of more conclusive information. Using the Gaia telescope from Europe, investigation of another ring of stars beyond the Monoceros filiment will also be done.