In recent space news, I learned about scientists creating clear animations that can predict the evolution of our galaxy and the movement it will take over the course of the next 5 million years. Since all this prediction is based on preconceived knowledge on our galaxy collected by scientists over the years, I thought it would be nice to discuss what I have learned about our galaxy in class in the light of this new scientific discovery.
In lecture, we discussed the properties of our galaxy, the Milky Way. This galaxy is a flat, disk-shaped, spiral galaxy with a bright bulge in the center. It is composed of dust, gas, and billions of stars. Our solar system is located halfway out from the center bulge to the edge of the disc. The shape of our galaxy reflects the way stars move within it. Each of the 4 arms has hundreds of thousands of stars (understatement) that make them up. These stars are younger than those that make up the center bulge, which are all really old stars that have lived out their stellar lives already and spend their years as low mass, red stars. Within the arms, new stars are continuously being formed, while the bulge-bar at the center of our galaxy has no new star production. At the very center of our galaxy sits a black hole, and surrounding the outside of our galaxy in a spherical shape, is a vast halo filled of very old stars.
I find the information on our solar system to be most exiting because astronomers have found out so much just from observing within our own galaxy. What happens when we are able to go father? Also, having an understanding of our solar system is one step to understanding other solar systems, which leads to even more SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY!