MILWAUKEE - (KRT) - Slowly, scientists are putting together the emerging bits of knowledge about the spiraling galaxy we call home, the Milky Way.
It is made up of as many as 100 billion stars. It's 100,000 light years across. It has rotated about 50 times during its lifetime. There most certainly is a super massive black hole at its center.
And now two Wisconsin scientists say they have revealing evidence on a long-suspected major feature of the Milky Way.
Writing in Astrophysical Journal Letters, their comprehensive structural analysis offers a wealth of new details on the long central bar of stars that runs across the center of the galaxy.
The bar, which has been suspected since the 1980s and was identified in a 2002 paper by other scientists, turns out to be longer than initially believed, according the work of Robert Benjamin, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Ed Churchwell, a professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The bar is composed of older, so-called red stars, possibly millions of them...........