Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Milky Way might look from space

Hubble Space telescope image of NGC 3370 
NASA Astronomy picture of day October 29, 2011 

Click on the APOD link to see this fabulous Hubble telescope image of Spiral Galaxy NGC3370 in all its glory and majesty. It is in the constellation of Leo about 98 million light years from us. 

One of the many paradoxes in scientific terminology is that the most luminous part at the center of this beautiful galaxy may be a black hole!  

Modern astronomy suggest that our Solar system is located in the Orion-Cygnus spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. From outer space the view of Milky Way could resemble NGC 3370. (In fact, a bit humbler looking galaxy NGC 1365 may be a more accurate match to our Milky Way.)

"The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy 100,000 light years in diameter containing 200–400 billion stars. Depending on its structure the entire galaxy has a rotational rate of 1 per 15 to 50 million years. The galaxy is also moving at a rate of 552 to 630 km per second depending on the relative frame of reference. It is estimated to be about 13.2 billion years old, nearly as old as the Universe. The Milky Way is part of the Local Group of galaxies."

We are spinning!
Can you feel the movement of these carousels?

Our planet Earth spins around 500 meters per second.

Our Earth revolves around Sun at the speed of 30 kilometers per second.

Our Sun rotates in the Milky Way about 250 km per second.

Milky Way rotates slowly - once in perhaps fifteen or fifty million years

But our solar system is speeding with the huge structure of the Milky Way through space at the speed of 630 km/s and the speed is apparently accelerating. There are no breaks in this vehicle.

Can you feel the majestic movements of these carousels?

Thank God for gravity that keeps us down to Earth!

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