Spectacular Spiral May Encircle Milky Way

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by Ken Croswell

One of our galaxy’s arms may do a full 360, upping the chances that our galactic home is a rare cosmic beauty.

Full story---including an excellent map of the Milky Way---at Scientific American.
 

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  • #2
phinds
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Very cool. Thanks for posting.
 
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The Milky Way certainly looks ”glorious” as depicted in the photo. I suppose that the “gloriousness” of the spiral structure depends on the means used to observe it, and the angle. And who is observing it for that matter. “Envy of its spiral neighbors”??? Also strange that Scientific American says that the rotation is counterclockwise. Not a very well written article in my opinion. Interesting information though.
 
  • #4
Bandersnatch
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strange that Scientific American says that the rotation is counterclockwise.
Apart from it being a matter of convention you choose w/r to the vantage point, the article doesn't say that. It says the arm "spirals outwards" in that direction, which is opposite to the direction of spin, as can be seen in the picture they used for visualisation.
 
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Apart from it being a matter of convention you choose w/r to the vantage point, the article doesn't say that. It says the arm "spirals outwards" in that direction, which is opposite to the direction of spin, as can be seen in the picture they used for visualisation.
You're right. Reading the article again, I understand that the comment on direction refers to the picture of the galaxy and not to the galaxy. Quite amazing how they make such a picture though.

In that case, I withdraw my remark about the gloriousness. It is the picture which is indeed glorious.
 

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