Tag Archives: space

My favorite comment on the new hi-res galactic snapshot

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spitzer galaxy shot

NASA has released
a HUGE image of the milky way galaxy (396,032 x 13,520 pixels!)
(yes, I downloaded all 16 full-res pieces — new desktop pics abound!),
and there was news that some of the spiral arms of the galaxy may be “demoted” from bring major spiral arms.
Shades of Pluto!

There was a very pithy comment
on slashdot:

“two minor spiral arms of the Milky Way may be demoted.”

I suspected something like this might happen, I just didn’t dream that they’d go so far.

I mean, you have to be just a little suspicious about whether all star-forming arms are on an equal footing when you look at the names. There’s Perseus and Sagittarius. Then we get to Scutum-Centaurus, and you have to wonder if the astronomers needed a leg up in the imagination department. And then all doubt vanishes when we get to the fourth arm…Norma. Yes, Norma. Like the girl who couldn’t wait to get old enough to disown her parents, legally change her name to Chantal and get a job at the brass-pole ballet.

You just had to know they were having their doubts about arm number 4.

On a more positive note, the same bunch of guys who just slammed Scutum-Centaurus and, um, “Norma”, are also telling us that they “obtained detailed information about our galaxy’s bar, and found that it extends farther out from the centre of the galaxy than previously thought”.

A bar that’s closer to the house than you thought can’t be a bad thing. Especially when you need to walk home.

I’ve calculated my velocity with such exquisite precision that I have no idea where I am.