Our galaxy is bigger than we think. Astronomers suggest that there are four ripples around the galaxy which if included as part of the Milky Way galaxy would make it far more bigger.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) observed ripples of stars and other celestial objects around the Milky Way making it almost 50 percent larger than believed till now. Milky Way galaxy has been supposed to be flat and disk-shaped, however, it is more corrugated and wavy.
First this was spotted in 2002, when astrophysicist Heidi Jo Newberg (Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York) observed dense clumps of stars near the boundaries of galaxy. The cluster of stars is now known as the Monoceros Ring. This structure is about 60,000 light-years away from the galactic center. Few years later other astronomers found another structure, called the Triangulum Andromeda Stream, beyond the Monoceros Ring. This structure is approximately 80,000 light-years from the galactic center.
Discussion and research went on the clusters of stars comprising these ripples. These were thought to be belongings of small galaxies that happened to get closer to Milky Way. Some suggested that these were mere flicker at the edges of Milky Way galaxy. The observations of 2002 restudied and further research by Newberg, Yan Xu (National Astronomical Observatories of China) and others, deleted the above guesses. They found four separate structures. Two of which are Monoceros ring and Triangulum Andromeda Stream while other two lie between the Earth and Monoceros ring.
The diameter of Milky Way galaxy is till now considered to be about 100,000 light years. If the four wavy structures are included in the milky way then it would extend its diameter up to 160,000 light years.
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Watch out in the following video how Prof. Newberg explains this fact:
All these results were published in Astrophysical Journal
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