Wednesday, 23 October 2019

The warped shape of the stellar disk of the Milky Way galaxy, determined by mapping the distribution of young stars called Cepheids with distances set out in light years, is seen over the Warsaw University Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, in an artist's rendition released August 1, 2019. Astronomers have created the most precise map to date of the Milky Way by tracking thousands of big pulsating stars spread throughout the galaxy, demonstrating that its disk of myriad stars is not flat but dramatically warped and twisted in shape. Jan Skowron/University of Warsaw/Handout via REUTERS

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Milky Way from an area of Puyehue National Park near Osorno City, Chile, May 8, 2008. The researchers on Thursday unveiled a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way - home to more than 100 billion stars including our sun - providing a comprehensive chart of its structure: a stellar disk comprised of four major spiral arms and a bar-shaped core region. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: A girl lies in hammock as she looks at the Milky Way during the peak of Perseid meteor shower in Kozjak, Macedonia August 13, 2018. "For the first time, our whole galaxy - from edge to edge of the disk - was mapped using real, precise distances," said University of Warsaw astronomer Andrzej Udalski, co-author of the study published in the journal Science. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: The Milky Way is seen during the Perseid shower above the Los Padres National Forest in Frazier Park, California, August 12, 2009. Until now, the understanding of the galaxy's shape had been based upon indirect measurements of celestial landmarks within the Milky Way and inferences from structures observed in other galaxies populating the universe. The new map was formulated using precise measurements of the distance from the sun to 2,400 stars called "Cepheid variables" scattered throughout the galaxy. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: The Milky Way from a beach in the Sardinia island, Italy, July 9, 2018. "Cepheids are ideal to study the Milky Way for several reasons," added University of Warsaw astronomer and study co-author Dorota Skowron. "Cepheid variables are bright supergiant stars and they are 100 to 10,000 times more luminous than the sun, so we can detect them on the outskirts of our galaxy. They are relatively young - younger than 400 million years - so we can find them near their birthplaces." REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Milky Way from an area of Puyehue National Park near Osorno City, Chile, May 8, 2008. The map showed that the galaxy's disk, far from flat, is significantly warped and varies in thickness from place to place, with increasing thickness measured further from the galactic center. The disk boasts a diameter of about 140,00 light years. Each light year is about 6 trillion miles (9 trillion km). The Milky Way began to form relatively soon after the Big Bang explosion that marked the beginning of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago. The sun, located roughly 26,000 light years from the supermassive black hole residing at the center of the galaxy, formed about 4.5 billion years ago. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo