New ‘Bone’ in Milky Way Skeleton Discovered

New ‘Bone’ in Milky Way Skeleton Discovered

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Astronomers have spotted a new component of the Milky Way galaxy’s skeleton — a “bone” of dust and gas that contains about as much material as 100,000 suns. The newfound Milky Way bone is more than 300 light-years long but just 1 or 2 light-years wide, giving it the appearance of a slender cosmic snake, researchers said.

She and her team discovered the bone while studying a dust cloud nicknamed “Nessie,” which was first spotted in 2010 in data gathered by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Researchers had already identified the central part of the Nessie bone, but the new study determines that the structure is much longer than previously thought — perhaps eight times longer, in fact. The new discovery helps shed light on the Milky Way’s structure, which is tough to divine from within, researchers said.

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