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Galaxies like Milky Way bigger than thought

Our Milky Way galaxy may be much bigger than previously thought, a new study has found.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2013 13:08 IST

Our Milky Way galaxy may be much bigger than previously thought, a new study has found.

Spiral galaxies like the Milky Way appear to be much larger and more massive than believed earlier, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study by researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Professor John Stocke, study leader, said new observations with Hubble’s $70 million Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, or COS, show that normal spiral galaxies are surrounded by halos of gas that can extend to over one million light-years in diameter.

The current estimated diameter of theMilky Way, for example, is about 100,000 light-years.

One light-year is roughly 6 trillion miles.

The material for galaxy halos detected by the researchers originally was ejected from galaxies by exploding stars known as supernovae, a product of the star formation process, said Stocke.