Milky Way Galaxy Is Warped, Has A New Arm!

Milky Way Galaxy, home of us all, is apparently warped like a motherfucker. The discovery of a new arm of the galaxy has led to wonderful science speak describing why our galaxy looks like a fucking bottle cap.


Here’s our current understanding of the Milky Way’s geography. The central bar has a huge proportion of our galaxy’s stars, and jutting off of it are the two main arms of the spiral, which are the Perseus Arm and the Scutum-Centaurus Arm. The other four arms are mostly just gas and relatively unimportant. Our solar system is close to the Perseus Arm, which extends about 300 degrees around galactic center.

But Harvard-Smithsonian Center astrophysicists Thomas Dame and Patrick Thaddeus have discovered something that complicates that picture. They discovered a new arm in a part of the galaxy surprisingly far away from the center. It’s an offshoot of the Scutum-Centaurus Arm, both of which are obscured by being on the other side of the galactic center. The discovery of this new arm provides good evidence that the Scutum-Centaurus Arm is just as large and expansive as the Perseus Arm, suggesting we live in an almost perfectly symmetrical galaxy.

Except there is one rather large catch. The reason we’ve only now identified this arm is because it does  not lie on the galactic plane. Instead, it lies at an angle, meaning it’s slightly above the rest of the Milky Way, which mostly exists on an effectively two-dimensional cross-section of the universe. The Milky Way then would look rather warped, not unlike a bottle cap right after it’s been opened

Until today I didn’t even know we named the arms of our galaxy. Time to get my learn on.