Milky Way

Our Milky Way Galaxy is one of the most mysterious galaxies we observe. That’s because we’re studying it from inside its spiral disk, surrounded by its stars, gas, and dust. But what we do see tells us a lot about the Milky Way’s formation. Astronomers have managed to piece together a map of what our galaxy looks like from the outside, though even counting its spiral arms has been a lesson in humility.

Still, the Milky Way has plenty of secrets. Astronomers are tenaciously trying to glimpse the silhouette of its supermassive black hole, and they’re working to discover what created the Fermi bubbles, the humongous dumbbell belched from the galaxy’s core.

Here you’ll find the latest news on the bustling stellar metropolis we live in, the dwarf galaxies that make up its suburbs, and our evolving picture of everything Milky Way.

local supercluster

Laniakea: Our Home Supercluster

Astronomers have mapped the cosmic watershed and discovered a massive supercluster that extends more than 500 million light-years and contains 100,000 large galaxies. The Milky Way sits on the edge of this humongous structure.

NGC 6872, the largest spiral galaxy

Galaxies Grow By Snacking

Evidence from observations and computer simulations supports a picture of galaxy growth that isn't dominated by the rough-and-tumble crashes of big galaxies. Instead, most of the universe's stellar metropolises appear to feed themselves with nibbles instead of feasts.

XMM-Newton Slew Survey

Glimpse the X-ray Sky

Time and tide wait for no man. So the XMM-Newton space telescope is making every second count. As the telescope shifts its gaze from source to source, it's recording the X-ray sky.

Barrel-shaped supernova remnant

Baby Black Hole Discovered

Astronomers investigating a supernova remnant see nothing but swirls of gas. The lack of stellar remains means the explosion must have birthed a black hole only 1,000 years ago.

galplane_70px

Mapping the Milky Way

New observations of spaghetti-thin clouds, faraway star-forming regions and mysterious magnetic fields are revealing the hard-to-see structure of the galaxy we call home.

stars orbiting black hole

Star Zips around Black Hole

Astronomers announced that they've successfully tracked a star that takes less than 12 years to whip around the Milky Way's central black hole. The star isn't so special on its own, but combined with other observations it might help unwrap the region's mysteries.