NASA has been studying the Milky Way Galaxy for a very long time now since it is the galactic body where the solar system is located. The international agency's efforts are trying to find how the enormous heavenly body formed.
Now, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered an unusual thing about the Milky Way. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration claimed that the galaxy seems to have a broken arm or a strange break in one of its spiral arms.
If you haven't seen what the Milky Way Galaxy looks like, it is a circular galactic body with tentacles in spiral form. The space company used its Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared or heat-seeking lenses to identify the broken spiral arm.
NASA's astronomers were able to take advantage of the giant observatory before it completely stopped operating back in 2020. Aside from Spitzer, NASA also collaborated with the European Space Agency's Gaia mission, which specifically measures stellar motions and distances.
NASA Says Milky Way's Broken Arm Could Be a Big Help
According to Space.Com's latest report, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration claimed that the discovery of the giant heavenly body's broken arm could provide essential information that would explain how the Milky Way Galaxy came to be.
NASA's new space study specifically focuses on the nearby region of the galaxy's Sagittarius arms. This is a major deal since the said arm contains the so-called "Pillars of Creation" stars that form the Eagle Nebula or Messier 16.
Thanks to the data provided by Spitzer Space Telescope and Gaia mission, astronomers discovered that the broken arm is full of young stars. They added that the acquired details showed that these stars have the same direction and velocity.
Other Details of Milky Way's Broken Arm
News Week reported that the newly discovered Milky Way Galaxy's broken arm is unusual since the protruding stars. This is not common since the Sagittarius Arm has a pitch angle of around 12 degrees.
"This structure is a small piece of the Milky Way, but it could tell us something significant about the Galaxy as a whole," said Robert Benjamin, an astrophysicist at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
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Written by: Griffin Davis