Astronomers Baffled by ‘Cosmic Mountain Ranges’ Jutting Through the Milky Way4 min read

They have very little idea how these stunning geographic features form.

To us, the night sky may look like a random splattering of stars, but astronomers are learning that in some regions of our galaxy, stars have clumped into features that resemble ones on Earth — streams, waves, arches and mountain ridges.

Tectonic activity creates Earth’s wide array of features, but scientists aren’t exactly sure what’s making those stellar mimics in the Milky Way. Now, researchers are testing for a culprit, including forces coming from outside of our galaxy. The real suspect, though, might just be the Milky Way itself.

The Gaia mission recently created a celestial survey of 1 billion stars in the Milky Way. They’re spotting gorgeous celestial features like mountain ranges, arches and streams of stars.(Image: © ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Scientists describe the Milky Way as a barred, spiral galaxy — essentially shaped like a sunny-side-up egg, with a pinwheel distribution of stars. But on a smaller scale, there’s a lot more detail hiding in this galactic topography.

Sources: • Live Science

Featured Image: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Sebastien Clarke
Sebastien Clarke

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