Oct 19th: The Peanut at the Heart of our Galaxy

By on October 19, 2013 in

Podcaster:  Pamela Quevillon
Title: A Colossal Cosmic Crash

Organization: Speak Easy Narration

Linkhttp://speakeasynarration.com ; http://www.unawe.org/kids/unawe1367/

Description: Space scoop, news for children. Today’s we bring you the colossal cosmic crash

Bio: Pamela Quevillon is a voice actress who most often lends her voice to science and science fiction content. You can find her work on the “Escape Pod” and “365 Days of Astronomy”

Today’s sponsor: This episode of “365 Days of Astronomy” is sponsored by — no one. We still need sponsors for many days in 2013, so please consider sponsoring a day or two. Just click on the “Donate” button on the lower left side of this webpage, or contact us at signup@365daysofastronomy.org.


The Peanut at the Heart of our Galaxy

For a long time, astronomers found it very difficult to make a map of the very centre of our Galaxy, the Milky Way. This small central region is a very crowded place filled with stars and dust that are hard to see past. This part of the Galaxy is also very tricky to study because there are so many stars there. In fact, if the Earth was somehow moved there, the stars in the night sky would be bright enough to read a book without turning the light on!

You can imagine the Milky Way as a CD with a ball of cotton wool slotted through the hole in its centre. It has a largely flat shape, and in the middle there is this dense ball, called the ‘galactic bulge’. It’s actually a fairly small area that contains about 10 000 million stars! It’s one the oldest and most impressive features of the Galaxy, but it was not very well understood until now.

Two groups of astronomers have teamed up and pointed some of the world’s most powerful telescopes at the centre of the Milky Way, to get the most detailed pictures of the heart of our Galaxy ever! The map is three-dimensional, giving us views of the deepest depths of the Galaxy from different angles and revealing its secrets. One finding was quite surprising: it turns out that the Galaxy centre is shaped like a giant peanut!

Cool Fact

Did you know that Earth, the Sun and our entire Solar System are orbiting around the centre of the Milky Way at thousands of kilometres per hour. But even at that speed, it still takes over 200 million years for us to make one complete orbit around the galaxy!

365 Days of Astronomy is a community podcast made possible thanks to the contributions of people like you. Please consider donating at 365DaysofAstronomy.org/Donate

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by the New Media Working Group of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Audio post-production by Preston Gibson. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. Web design by Clockwork Active Media Systems. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. In the new year the 365 Days of Astronomy project will be something different than before….Until then…goodbye.

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