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Our Galaxy: The Milky Way

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The Milky Way galaxy contains the planet Earth, situated in a tight, yet vast, bundle of planets, stars, space debris, asteroids and more. And although we've yet to explore the entirety of our own solar system yet, researchers and explorers are constantly working on new ways to reach out to galaxies far beyond home.

Check out footage taken from within the Milky Way itself, along with expert interviews, cool facts and more here.

01:32
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The word galaxy comes from the Greek word meaning "milky circle" or the more familiar Milky Way.
05:40
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Despite being one of billions of galaxies in the universe, the Milky Way is special. Nestled in a corner of this gigantic galaxy sits Earth, a simple grain of sand tucked away among countless clusters of stars.
12:01
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It has spawned a host of songs from crooners to alternative rock bands. One of the best loved chocolate bars in the United Kingdom is named after it. Yet how much to we really know about the Milky Way and just how important is it? We could be close to many answers about the galaxy thanks to a new satellite named Gaia, being launched by the European Space Agency. "One fundamental step to understand our universe is to understand our closer universe, which is the galaxy," explained Guiseppe Sarri who is the project manager of ESA's Gaia project. Gaia will scan the sky with powerful new eyes, mapping the Milky Way in unprecedented detail. It will help produce a detailed 3D image of the galaxy, something which has never been done before.
02:54
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If you've ever been suspicious of photos of the Milky Way, you are pretty smart. How can we take pictures of a galaxy we're located within if our farthest-traveled spacecraft is only now passing out of our solar system? Turns out we can't. Join Josh as he sets you straight. Tune in for new episodes every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday! Watch More Stuff You Should Know on TestTube http://testtube.com/stuffyoushouldknow Please Subscribe to Stuff You Should Know http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=joshandchuck Watch More http://www.youtube.com/JoshAndChuck Twitter http://twitter.com/SYSKPodcast Facebook http://facebook.com/StuffYouShouldKnow Google+ http://gplus.to/SYSK Stuff You Should Know Website http://stuffyoushouldknow.com
02:00
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Read more: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929302.900 The latest weigh-in of our home galaxy shows much less mass from dark matter, which means we may live in a cosmic oddball
05:26
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Two and a half billion infrared pixels are exposing our own Galaxy in this new image from NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope!
02:42
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Poop ball making Dung Beetles actually use the Milky Way for navigation. So why does an animal who runs around hunting for poop need to navigate so accurately? Trace has the answers. Photo credit: © Paul Souders/Corbis Read More: http://news.discovery.com/animals/insects/beetles-use-milky-way-as-gps-130124.htm http://news.discovery.com/animals/zoo-animals/dung-beetle-why-poop-cool-feet-protect-121023.htm http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21150721 http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982212015072 DNews is a show about the science of everyday life. We post two new videos every day of the week. Watch More http://www.youtube.com/dnewschannel Subscribe http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzWQYUVCpZqtN93H8RR44Qw?sub_confirmation=1 DNews Twitter https://twitter.com/dnews Anthony Carboni Twitter: https://twitter.com/acarboni Laci Green Twitter https://twitter.com/gogreen18 Trace Dominguez Twitter https://twitter.com/trace501 DNews Facebook http://www.facebook.com/DNews DNews Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/106194964544004197170/posts DNews Website http://discoverynews.com/
04:24
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The Earth orbits the Sun in the Solar System, and the Solar System is embedded within a vast galaxy of stars. Just one in hundreds of billions of galaxies in the Universe. Ours is called the Milky Way because the disk of the galaxy runs across the sky as a band of glowing light, like spilled milk. Astronomers had suspected the Milky Way was made up of stars, but it wasn't proven until 1610, when Galileo Galilei turned his rudimentary telescope towards the heavens and resolved individual stars in the band across the sky. With the help of telescopes, astronomers realized that there were many many more stars in the sky, and all of the stars that we can see are a part of the Milky Way. If you could travel outside the galaxy and look down on it from above, you'd see that the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy measuring about 120,000 light-years across and about 1,000 light-years thick. For the longest time, the Milky Way was thought to have 4 spiral arms, but newer surveys have determined that it actually seems to just have 2 spiral arms: they are called Scutum--Centaurus and Carina--Sagittarius. It's very difficult to figure out what the Milky Way looks like exactly, because we're embedded inside it. If you'd never been out of your house, you wouldn't know what it looked like from outside. But you'd get a sense by looking at other houses in your neighborhood. Our Sun is located in the Orion Arm, a region of space in between the two major arms of the Milky Way. The spiral arms are formed from density waves that orbit around the Milky Way. As these density waves move through an area, they compress the gas and dust, leading to a period of active star formation for the region. Astronomers estimate that there are between 100 and 400 billion stars in the Milky Way, and think that each star has at least one planet. So there are likely hundreds of billions of planets in the Milky Way, and at least 17 billion of those are the size and mass of the Earth. Our Sun is located about 27,000 light years from the galactic core. At the heart of the Milky Way is a supermassive black hole, just like all of the other galaxies. This monster is more than 4 million times the mass of the Sun. Our Sun takes about 240 million years to orbit the Milky Way once. Just imagine, the last time the Sun was at this region of the galaxy, dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and the Sun has only made 18-20 trips around in its entire life. The Milky Way, like all galaxies, is surrounded by a vast halo of dark matter. Nobody knows what it is, but its mass helps keep the galaxy from tearing itself apart as it rotates. It's believed that our galaxy formed through the collisions of smaller galaxies, early in the Universe. These mergers are still going on, and the Milky Way is expected to collide with Andromeda in 3-4 billion years. The two galaxies will combine to form a giant elliptical galaxy, and their supermassive black holes might even merge. The Milky Way and Andromeda are part of a larger collection of galaxies known as the Local Group. And these are contained within an even larger region called the Virgo Supercluster. You might be amazed to know that dung beetles actually navigate at night using the Milky Way. If you've never seen the Milky Way with your own eyes, you should take the chance when you can. Go to a place with nice dark skies, free from light pollution. Look up and appreciate the Milky Way, and wave hello to all the neighboring stars who share our galaxy with us.
01:32
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The word galaxy comes from the Greek word meaning "milky circle" or the more familiar Milky Way.
05:20
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A galaxy dubbed NGC 6744 is being hailed at the Milky Way's galactic twin... Find out why? More physics and astronomy at http://www.sixtysymbols.com/ In anticipation of people asking, more about Professor Merrifield's "sculptures" can be found at http://www.crystalnebulae.co.uk/ --- And I'm at pains to point out The Professor did not ask me to mention the site... I asked him about the sculptures because it was a case of an astronomer's hobby (which I knew about) giving a personal perspective to this "news" about NGC 6744.

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