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The Crazy Cosmos: Stars Near Sun are Wild & Wayward

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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:24 PM
Original message
The Crazy Cosmos: Stars Near Sun are Wild & Wayward
A new survey of stars near the Sun reveals a wild and crazy past in which wanderers arrived from all directions under the gravitational influences of black holes, clouds of gas and invading galaxies.

---snip

All stars in the Milky Way are gravitationally bound to the dense galactic center, around which they all orbit. Most are born in circular orbits, but when they encounter other objects, they can change course and speed up. Andersen told SPACE.com that older stars in particular move more rapidly than was known. "Something has stirred up their motions more than we knew," he said.

But what did the stirring, giving each star a different trajectory and speed? Several things were probably at work giving gravitational boosts, according to a preliminary analysis of the data:

--The Milky Way's own spiral arms, which are denser than the relative voids in between
--Smaller galaxies falling into the Milky Way and being consumed
--Giant clouds of gas falling through the galaxy
--Black holes

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/milkyway_movement...
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amazona Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:27 PM
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1. hmmm
It seems like the more I learn about new findings in astronomy over the last decade, the more a miracle it seems that earth is habitable at all. The galaxy seems more and more like this hazardous pinball game.

A far cry from decades gone by when it was pretty much assumed that just our galaxy alone provided safe harbor for hundreds if not thousands if not millions of planets capable of bearing life.

Invading galaxies, ha ha, I have to admit I do enjoy that image, not sure why.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes, It Sounds Like a Bing Pinball Game
with stars shooting all over the place. Just on a time scale that we can't appreciate.

Even more amazing is the discovery of supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies. Instead of a bunch of stars, it looks like the mormal galaxy is more like Saturn -- one huge mass in the middle (albeit taking up less space) with stars circling it like the blocks of ice in Saturn's rings.

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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. Another Article on the Same Subject:
Milky Way Past Was More Turbulent Than Previously Known

The Milky Way started out just after the Big Bang as one or more diffuse blobs of gas of almost pure hydrogen and helium. With time, it assembled into the flattened spiral galaxy which we inhabit today. Meanwhile, generation after generation of stars were formed, including our Sun some 4,700 million years ago.

But how did all this really happen? Was it a rapid process? Was it violent or calm? When were all the heavier elements formed? How did the Milky Way change its composition and shape with time? Answers to these and many other questions are "hot" topics for the astronomers who study the birth and evolution of the Milky Way and other galaxies.

Now the rich results of a 15 year-long marathon survey by a Danish-Swiss-Swedish research team <2> are providing some of the answers.

---snip

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/0404070846...
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:06 AM
Response to Original message
4. I know what causes these wayward stars: Clinton's penis. n/t
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