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Skeletal 'Nessie' Discovered in Our Galaxy


Craig
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http://news.discovery.com/space/spitzer-shows-the-skeletal-structure-of-our-galaxy-130108.html


 


Just as there are bones in your arms, there are bones in our galaxy's arms as well -- and researchers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have shared the x-rays to prove it.

 


Alright, they're not actually x-rays but rather images made from observations in infrared light, which Spitzer is specifically designed to detect. (One does need to clarify such things in astronomy.) Orbiting Earth over 172 million kilometers away, Spitzer can see infrared radiation that isn't visible from the ground, radiation that's emitted from anything in the Universe warmer than zero Kelvin.


 


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Quite a misleading analogy IMHO. These "bones" suffer from rather severe osteoporosis. Although they are several times the density of the average region of space, they are only composed of maybe 5 atoms per cubic centimetre! To put that into perspective, the air we breath contains a million, trillion atoms per cubic centimetre which is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000! Your average human bone contains less than 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms per cubic centimetre. Apologies if you don't like these numbers.

Hope no one thought these galactic bones were rigid :)

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