It turns out our Milky Way galaxy is truly warped, at least around the far edges.
Scientists in China and Australia released an updated 3D map of the Milky Way on Tuesday. They used 1,339 pulsating stars — young, newly catalogued stars bigger and brighter than our sun — to map the galaxy’s shape.
The farther from the center, the more warping, or twisting, there is in the Milky Way’s outer hydrogen gas disc. Researchers say the pattern is likely caused by the spinning force of the massive inner disc of stars. One astronomer notes we usually think of spiral galaxies as being flat, like Andromeda.
At least a dozen other galaxies appear to have warped edges in a similar spiral pattern.
The study appears in the journal Nature Astronomy .