Nessie Found By Astronomers, Bones Of The Milky Way Revealed
Nessie is more than just a sea monster! “Nessie” is the name of a very long and skinny so-called infrared dark cloud (IRDC) that helped astronomers figure out a new way to map the spiral structure of the Milky Way. The new method relies on the idea that Nessie is one of several so-called “bones” of the Milky Way Galaxy that trace out the densest parts of the its spiral arms. Researchers have identified the first “bone” of the Milky Way – a long tendril of dust and gas that appears dark in this infrared image from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Running horizontally along this image, the “bone” is more than 300 light-years long but only 1 or 2 light-years wide. It contains about 100,000 suns’ worth of material.
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