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Artist's impression of the Milky Way
- Title Artist's impression of the Milky Way
- Released 20/10/2004 12:45 pm
- Copyright S. Kerroudj, B. Famaey & A. Jorissen (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Artist's impression of our galaxy, the Milky Way, an aggregate of thousands of millions of stars. The spiral arms are clearly visible. They are regions of enhanced density of stars and gas. The Sun is located near the edge of one arm, about half-way from the galactic centre. Spiral arms can impart a kick on stars orbiting close to them. These stars are then forced unto streams running inwards or outwards, whereas the bulk of stars in the Milky Way move in circular orbits around the galactic centre. Using data from ESA’s Hipparcos satellite, astronomers have now identified three such streams, reaching into the solar neighbourhood.