It has always been speculated that the Milky Way mass can be between 500 and 3 billion solar masses, but now we have a certain number.
Milky Way is the galaxy in which our solar system lives, and therefore, it is a home from which mankind can hardly leave one day. Even though we are condemned to an eternal relationship (or, more precisely, to our extinction), we know little about it. For example, how much is the total mass of all the objects present in it.
Of course, it is not easy to measure from where we are. On the one hand, the Milky Way is large enough for our technology to decipher all its secrets. On the other hand, our position hardly allows us to take fuller photos of the galaxy.
In fact, there is a fact about the galaxy that has been talked about for a long time, but without a satisfactory answer. This is how much is the mass of the Milky Way, a fact that was unattainable for scientists. So far, calculations have been made that ranged between 500 billion and 3 billion solar masses.
However, a group of astronomers recently gave a certain number. According to the team, the mass of the Milky Way is 1.5 billion solar masses. Just to get an idea, the mass of our sun is 1.989 × 10 ^ 30 kg.
This conclusion was made thanks to the combined efforts of NASA, ESA and scientists at the University of Cambridge. The details of this study were published at Arxiv.org.
How was this number obtained?
The problem of calculating the mass of the Milky Way was focused on the existence of dark matter. This covers 80% of the matter in space and strangely does not emit any type of electromagnetic radiation. In other words, there is no way to discover it directly in space.
Therefore, scientists had to resort to other methods that were more effective. Thus, they decided to study the speed of ball clusters. These are large accumulations of stars that orbit the galaxy at long distances. What was to follow was to interpret the fact that if a galaxy is massive, the clusters will move faster thanks to the force of gravity.
To make the study, Hubble's Hubble telescopes were used by NASA and Gaia from ESA. The Observatory of the latter had data on clusters that were up to 65,000 years away from Earth.
By computing several globular clusters a mass of 1.5 billion solar masses was determined. In this way, once again science is releasing new secrets to the universe.