Beyond the Edge of the Milky Way: Giant Pulsating Stars Revealed an Enormous Halo of Dark Matter

Galaxy NGC 474

 

One early result of the 2nd release of the still ongoing Dark Energy Survey is the previously untold story revealed by old, giant RR Lyrae (RRL) pulsating stars with a mass of around half the sun’s, which tell scientists about the region of space beyond the edge of our Milky Way. These large-amplitude stars serve as tracers and distance indicators of old stellar populations in the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies. They are also essential laboratories for testing evolutionary and pulsation models.

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“At the Dawn of Time” –Spider’s Web of Galaxies Discovered Powering Supermassive Black Hole

"300-Times Size of the Milky Way" --Big-Bang Spider's Web of Galaxies Powering Supermassive Black Hole

 

“We believe we have just seen the tip of the iceberg, and that the few galaxies discovered so far around this supermassive black hole are only the brightest ones,” said Barbara Balmaverde, at The National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Torino, Italy about the discovery by astronomers using the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) of six galaxies in a cosmic “spider’s web” of gas extending to over 300 times the size of the Milky Way around a supermassive black hole –those “strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order”–at the dawn of time when the universe was only 0.9 billion years old.

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