by Arjun Walia
October 07, 2015
According to the best estimates by
astronomers from around the world, there are at least one hundred
billion galaxies in the observable universe.
As for the parts of the
universe we can't see? Who knows. Within these billions (if not
trillions) of galaxies are billions (if not trillions) of stars… Quite mind-altering, isn't it?
It is literally beyond our ability to
New research coming from a team of
international scientists led by Professor
Heidi Jo Newberg
of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that the
Milky Way Galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than what is
are based on new findings that reveal our galaxy is contoured into
multiple concentric ripples. This means that the Milky Way Galaxy is
not 100,000 light years across, but at least 150,000 light years
At the center of the galaxy is a giant black hole
which is billions of times as massive as the sun. Just imagine
a few images that will help you put that fact into perspective.
Scientists believe that this black hole weighs as much as 4 million
of our suns put together.
Black holes are some of the strangest and
most fascinating objects found in outer space. Scientists don't know
what they are, but theories range from portals to other dimensions
The first black hole was discovered in 1971. Our galaxy is
hurtling through space, spinning around a giant black hole, while
our sun and solar system travel with it. The solar system is
travelling at speeds of approximately 515,000 miles per hour.
at this speed, our solar system would take about 230 million years
to travel all the way around the galaxy.
As mentioned in point #2, our galaxy is hurtling
through the universe, and it's not the only one. There are
out there, all doing the same thing.
collection of stars is constantly crashing into one another.
galaxy is home to (possibly) a number of Earth-like planets.
few Earth-like planets have already been discovered, but a group of
researchers from Australia and Denmark recently calculated that
there are hundreds of
of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way
"The ingredients for life are
plentiful, and we now know that habitable environments are
plentiful," said Dr Lineweaver, who is a co-author on the paper
submitted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
the Inclinations of Kepler Systems to Prioritize New
Titius-Bode-Based Exoplanet Predictions).
Using NASA data, astronomers have
calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone, there are at
least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable
temperature zone. (source)
It's important to note that not all
planets have to be Earth-like in order to support
Who knows what conditions are required for other lifeforms to
exist? Their biological makeup could be completely different from
ours, and it seems like pure hubris to assume otherwise.
general, overwhelming scientific consensus is no, we are not alone (source),
but not all agree that intelligent extraterrestrial life is, and has
been, visiting our planet.
That being said, many prestigious
scientists, astronauts, academics, and more believe that the
evidence for extraterrestrial visitation is quite solid. You can
read more about that
there is a strong possibility that the
Milky Way and Andromeda
galaxies will collide in about 2 billion years. That collision will
last approximately 5 billion years.
Many scientists believe that the Milky Way is one of
the oldest galaxies in the universe. Estimates place the formation
of our galaxy at approximately 13.6 billion years ago, and the 'Big
Bang' was said to occur 13.7 billion years ago.
(Trammel, Howard K. 2010.
Galaxies (A True Book).
New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.)
Approximately 90 percent of the Milky Way is
invisible. Stars and dust make up only 10 percent of the total mass
of the galaxy, so where is the other 90 percent?
Whatever it is, it
does have mass, and scientists
are calling it Dark Matter.