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Twitter Instrument In Discovering Milky Way, X-Shaped Star Formation

First Posted: Jul 28, 2016 06:36 AM EDT
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Dustin Lang, an astronomer, posted new maps of the Milky Way galaxy in Twitter last May 2015. Lang's post interested Melissa Ness, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany.

Ness noted the images from Twitter provided a clear shot of an unusual X-shaped distribution in the Milky Way's central bulge. Ness and Lang joined forces and used the latter's maps to get the clearest view of the stars.

According to Lang, the Twitter pictures showed the X-shaped structure living inside the "boxy peanut" bulge. Lang claims that the stars in an X-pattern are orbiting within a peanut shaped center. The Milky Way is the galaxy, which inner region forms a bar shape while the outer region forms spirals. NASA claims that the center is a huge 3D boxy peanut, Norcal News reported.

Lang's Twitter maps of the galaxy was made using NASA's Wide field Infrared Survey Explorer or known as WISE. Ness and Lang's work, on the other hand, used infrared surveys of the sky to show the clearest view of the stars captured to date.

Lang said that the center of the Milky Way contains the oldest stars of the galaxy. The bulge showed on the Twitter map leads to vital clues of the galaxy's origin. The X pattern of stars noted from the Twitter post may have been there purposefully since Lang noted that a collision between the Milky Way and another galaxy would cause the stars to scatter randomly.

A collision between the Milky Way and another galaxy would scatter the stars in the X pattern onto more random orbits according to Lang, Perf Science reported.

After Lang posted the images to Twitter, Lang and Ness got together in Michigan to collaborate on a new study that was published on June 21. Twitter opened the doors for two astronomers to form a breakthrough study that may lead to a scientific breakthrough.

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