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A spiral arm break in the Milky Way

20 Aug 2021, 12:00 UTC
A spiral arm break in the Milky Way
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View larger. | Stars and nebulae jut out like a splinter from a piece of wood on the Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way. The inset gives you a better idea of the spiral arm break and where it’s located in relationship to our sun. Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech.
Just as you can’t see the forest for the trees, sometimes you can’t see the galaxy for the stars. Because we’re inside our Milky Way galaxy, we can’t get a complete view of the forest of stars surrounding us. So astronomers around the world this week weren’t surprised to hear of a new discovery. It is that one of our galaxy’s spiral arms – located some 4,000 light-years from Earth – is jutting out at a weird angle. They’re calling it a break in one of the Milky Way’s spiral arms.
This break, extending from the Sagittarius Arm of our Milky Way galaxy, is the first major structure identified with such a dramatic orientation. The scientists published their discovery on July 21, 2021, in the peer-reviewed journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Spiral arm break contains famous nebulae
The broken, branching portion of the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way contains famous nebulae, ...

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