Data from Gaia and Hubble: the Milky Way has a mass of 1.5 billion solar masses


Using the new data from the Gaia ESA Space Telescope and Hubble's observations, astronomers determined the mass of the Milky Way and increased the value: all objects up to 129,000 light years from the center of our galaxy together reach a mass of 1.54 Trillion of solar masses. Previous analyzes had produced results between 500 and 3 billion solar masses. Recently, researchers from the University of Arizona had a total mass of 960 billion suns.

As the researchers of Laura Watkins of the Southern European Observatory now explain, they used data from Hubble and Gaia. While Hubble has been photographing the stars for decades, the ESA Gaia spacecraft has created an unprecedented 3D Atlas of the Milky Way in recent years. The data has now benefited the researchers.

Like their predecessors, this team of researchers has also analyzed the movement of globular clusters around the Milky Way and, based on this, has identified the mass of the galaxy around which they rotate. While so far the researchers have only been able to measure movements in the direction of our earth and away from it, the lateral movement has now also entered the new calculation. It could only be delivered by Gaia. A total of 34 globular clusters were included in the study along the way.

The mass of the Milky Way is an important value in cosmology, as a whole set of data can be determined, especially the part of the mysterious dark matter. The fact that Gaia is now helping to answer this question underlines the immense scientific value of the mission much more closely. The Sky Atlas 3D he created and the practice of publishing ESA have caused a largely unobserved revolution in astronomy from last year.

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