For decades, astronomers have pictured our galaxy as sporting four major, spiral arms, however new images effectively sever two appendages, revealing the Milky Way has just two major arms.
“We’re not proposing that they change the positions of the arms,” said Robert Benjamin of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. “What we’re proposing is a change in the emphasis of the arms.” Benjamin will present his team’s results today here at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).
The findings confirm an earlier observation by a team of astronomers, making a strong case that the Milky Way has two major spiral arms, a common structure for galaxies with bars. These major arms have the greatest densities of both young, bright stars and older, so-called red-giant stars.
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