FOR DECADES, space boffins have thought the Milky Way is stable and flat like a pancake, but a shock new study adds a twist to the theory.
In it, the first accurate 3D map of our galaxy reveals that its true shape is actually warped and twisted.
This crooked shape is caused by the extreme forces generated by the spinning of the Milky Way’s massive inner disc of stars.
The incredible find “offers new insights into the formation of our home galaxy,” said study author Professor Richard de Grijs from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
A team of Chinese and Australian scientists created the map by measuring the distances betweenÂ 1,300 large, pulsating stars.
The stars, known asÂ â€œclassical Cepheidsâ€, are 20 times bigger than our sun and shine 100,000 times brighter, meaning they can be mapped accurately even when they’re incredibly far away.
This makes them perfect for scientists trying to chart the Milky Way, and allowed the team to create the most accurate 3D map of the galaxy to date.
Professor de Grijs said the find revealed how the outer edges of the Milky Way have become more and more twisted over time.
He blamed extreme torque, or rotational force, in the Milky Way’s spinning inner disc for our misshapen home.
Data on the classical Cepheid stars were provided by a Nasa space telescope called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).
An incredible Nasa image released earlier this month showed the nearby Triangulum galaxy in stunning detail, including all 40billion of its stars.
The agencyÂ discovered two “Earth-like” planets 49 light-years away with a brand new telescope last September.
Nasa teased a return to the moon and missions to Mars in an inspiring new video in November.
Are you concerned that our galaxy is twisted? Let us know in the comments!
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