Scientists Discover Milky Way “halo” Much Hotter Than Previously Thought

The halo that surrounds the Milky Way is much hotter than scientists once thought. They think this may be a ubiquitous characteristic of galaxies after examining the data.
The collection of dust, gas and dark matter, looking a bit like a fog to the naked eye, that surrounds some galaxies, is know as a “halo.” And the Milky Way’s Halo is at least ten times hotter than once thought.

While previous research revealed that extreme temperatures (up to 18 million degrees Fahrenheit) could be found not just in certain parts of the halo, but that this may be the average temperature of the entire halo.

Researchers said that this piece of information could help scientists understand how the Milk Way galaxy and others like were created and how they grow.

The new data the analyzed came from an X-ray observatory telescope. This one one run by the European Space Agency. It is called the XMM-Newton. The telescope collects data in X-rays that normally would be blocked out by the Earth’s atmosphere.

The new data about the halo, which scientists consider the “link” between a galaxy and the wider universe, could help scientists understand how such a galaxy changes and interacts with the space around it over time.

Mapping the “warp” In the Milky Way

A team of international astronomers, including some from OSU, have worked up the most detailed Milk Way galaxy model to date, especially the so-called Milky Way warp.
Researchers stated that one of the problems has been they are trying model something that we are inside of—it isn’t as if we can step outside of the Milk Way to look in and around it.

Until recently astronomers thought the galaxy was a perfectly flat, disk like spiral with long arms. It was this research team’s new model that revealed the “warp” and is some of the first evidence to indicate the galaxy may not be a flat plane.

New information reveals the warp is even more pronounced than initially thought. When they started their mapping, the team saw from the star imaging that there was significant warp at the edges of the Milky Way galaxy.

The astronomers’ findings are helping them understand the structure of the galaxy and they help researchers understand how the galaxy formed.