Index – Science – The most accurate estimate to date has been made of the Milky Way’s mass

The group of Chinese scientists has completed its measurement with the largest data set to date, using data from the European Space Agency’s GAIA Observatory, which reports that our galaxy has a mass of approximately 805 billion solar masses.

Using the most amount of data ever to make The measurement, and while that’s a huge size to process, is still smaller than a 2019 estimate by US scientists. It is impossible to measure the mass of the Milky Way using current techniques, although estimates are getting more accurate every year.

In their article published in the Astrophysical Journal, scientists from the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Hinge Their approach: They used a data set of 260,000 stars, and most of the data came from the European Space Agency’s GAIA Observatory. Although this is the largest dataset to date with 260,000 stars, it is still a relatively small part of the galaxy, which is believed to be home to at least 100 billion stars of varying masses.

During the estimate, the rotation curve of the Milky Way was measured, which is the rotational speed of an astronomical body with respect to the radial distance from the galactic center. The new estimate is the most accurate measurement of the Milky Way’s rotation curve yet.

The measurement is also important because if we know the mass of the Milky Way, it becomes possible to place it in a “cosmological context” and compare it to simulations of galaxies in the evolving universe.

said Roland van der Marel, staff member at the Maryland Institute for Space Telescope Science.