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So, How Much Does Our Milky Way Galaxy Weigh?

Posted by Guy Pirro 03/09/2019 03:53AM

So, How Much Does Our Milky Way Galaxy Weigh?

We can't put the whole Milky Way Galaxy on a scale, but astronomers have been able to come up with one of the most accurate measurements yet of our galaxy's mass. Curious astronomers teamed up the Hubble Space Telescope and European Space Agency's Gaia satellite to precisely study the motions of globular star clusters that orbit our galaxy like bees around a hive. The faster the clusters move under the entire galaxy's gravitational pull, the more massive it is. The researchers concluded the galaxy weighs 1.5 trillion solar masses (one solar mass is the mass of our Sun). However most of it locked up in dark matter. The new mass estimate puts our galaxy on the beefier side, compared to other galaxies in the universe. The lightest galaxies are around a billion solar masses, while the heaviest are 30 trillion, or 30,000 times more massive.


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