“It’s a bit like studying an elephant blind-folded.”

Milky WayWhen most of us imagine what our galaxy looks like [if we ever do – Ed] we’d usually conjure up an image like the one at the Atlas of the Universe. But recent results noted here, from the Spitzer telescope, look set to radically change that image into one of a two-armed barred spiral galaxy as pictured. It might seem a minor point to note, but as the New Scientist article says – “Kicking Pluto out of the planet club was nothing compared to this.”

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  • graduate

    WOW! Just when you think something in this world may be constant it changes again.
    I remeber watching “Cosmos” with my dad in the 1970s and being fascinated by it. This kind of information rekindles my curiosity and makes me want to go back and study physics rather more seriously than I did at school. Thanks for the post Pete,you’ve cheered my day up. Away to buy a copy of the New Scientist now

  • Greenflag

    With over 100 billion galaxies with each one containing around 100 billion stars in our universe who exactly is going to miss an arm or two of one galaxy ? 🙂 . Who would miss Pluto the planet? or the Earth ( apart of course from the 6 billion of us who have reached sufficient ‘consciousness ‘ to be aware of our ‘lucky ‘ existence ?

    Getting humanity to this point has required an endless string of good fortune :), timely planet wide exterminations of competing life forms every couple of hundred million years and having the right size and type of star at the requisite distance from Sol.

    When I consider all the above I think we must’nt work ourselves up into too much of a state if closer to home our local galaxy of politicans decide to super novate yet again .

    Thanks Pete

    You’re a ‘star ‘ for keeping us posted on the bigger world beyond the little world of Pete/Marty/Biffo and Gordo 🙂

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks guys,

    I was taken by how something that had been, by many, commonly accepted as fact now looks set to be radically re-imagined after careful, scientific, examination.

    And not just in our local little world..

  • Great images Pete, and another spookily prescient post of the macro given our political predilictions to focus on the nano world of Norn Iron’s sad attempt at politics (point well made by Greenflag). But two worrying points from the NASA page…first: who named a spiral arm ‘Norma’ and second: who’s gonna tell my mate Normal that she’s gone missing. Finally with news that our solar system may once have resided in another spiral arm, will there be a demand that the damn re-settlers ‘go home’ and take their colonial solar system’s planets with them!

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Great images Pete, and another spookily prescient post of the macro given our political predilictions to focus on the nano world of Norn Iron’s sad attempt at politics (point well made by Greenflag).”

    I agree! And sure regarding timescales and the age of space and the universe about us, we’ll be all dead and gone in the blink of an eye such is our short time alive on earth.

    Carl Sagan’s TV programme in the 70’s was cool, (Vangelis did the music too, I think!)

  • joeCanuck

    Guess this will have to be slightly rewritten.