Wednesday January 22, 2020
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Study Reveals Shape and Structure of The Milky Way Galaxy

So our Milky Way's twists are rare but not unique, they said

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Saraswati
Earth is part of the Milky way galaxy. Wikimedia

The Milky Way’s disk of stars is not stable or flat but instead becomes increasingly “warped” and twisted far away from the galaxy’s centre, according to astronomers.

“We usually think of spiral galaxies as being quite flat, like Andromeda which you can easily see through a telescope,” said Professor Richard de Grijs from Macquarie University in Australia.

To understand, the team used 1,339 “standard” stars, each up to 100,000 brighter than our sun, to map the real shape of our home galaxy.

The new 3D map of our galaxy showed that the warped Milky Way disc also contains young stars and confirmed that the warped spiral pattern is caused by torque from the spinning of the Milky Way’s massive inner disc of stars, accordoing to the study published in the Nature Astronomy journal.

From a great distance, our galaxy would look like a thin disk of stars that orbit once every few hundred million years around its central region, where hundreds of billions of stars, together with a huge mass of dark matter, provide the gravitational “glue” to hold it all together.

Representational Image of Milky Way.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

But the pull of gravity becomes weaker far away from the Milky Way’s inner regions. In the galaxy’s far outer disk, the hydrogen atoms making up most of the Milky Way’s gas disk are no longer confined to a thin plane, but they give the disk an S-like warped appearance.”It is notoriously difficult to determine distances from the Sun to parts of the Milky Way’s outer gas disc without having a clear idea of what that disc actually looks like,” said Xiaodian Chen from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

“This research provides a crucial updated map for studies of our galaxy’s stellar motions and the origins of the Milky Way’s disk,” added Licai Deng, also from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Also Read- 2018 Fourth-hottest Year Since 1880; Earth Set to Get Warmer, Says NASA

Astronomers have observed a dozen other galaxies which showed similar progressively twisted spiral patterns in their outer regions.

So our Milky Way’s twists are rare but not unique, they said.  (IANS)

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Prenatal Smoking, Drinking Increases SIDS Risk; Says New Study

According to the researchers, these risks were in comparison to infants who were either not exposed to tobacco or alcohol during gestation or whose mothers quit tobacco or alcohol use by the end of the first trimester

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Effects of smoking
Excessive smoking can increase the chances of looking old as well. Pixabay

Children born to mothers who drank and smoked beyond the first three months of pregnancy have 12-fold increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), says a new study.

SIDS is the sudden, unexplained, death of an infant under one year of age. Many studies have shown that the risk of SIDS is increased by maternal smoking during pregnancy.

Some studies have also found that prenatal alcohol exposure, particularly from heavy drinking during pregnancy, can increase SIDS risk.

The findings, published in the journal The Lancet, provide a look at how SIDS risk is influenced by the timing and amount of prenatal exposure to tobacco and alcohol.

“Our findings suggest that combined exposures to alcohol and tobacco have a synergistic effect on SIDS risk, given that dual exposure was associated with substantially higher risk than either exposure alone,” said said first author Amy J Elliot from Avera Health Centre for Pediatric and Community in US.

For the findings, researchers followed the outcomes of nearly 12,000 pregnancies among women from two residential areas in Cape Town, South Africa; and five sites in the US.

men smoking
A Chinese man smokes in front of a pillar with a no smoking notice on display at a bus station in Beijing. VOA

The study sites were selected for their high rates of prenatal alcohol use and SIDS, and to include populations where the ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in SIDS remains understudied.

The researchers determined one-year outcomes for about 94 per cent of the pregnancies.

They found that 66 infants died during that time, including 28 SIDS deaths and 38 deaths from known causes.

Also Read: Marijuana Associated with Higher Risk of Heart Problems: Study

In addition to the almost 12-fold increased SIDS risk from combined smoking and drinking beyond the first trimester of pregnancy, they determined that the risk of SIDS was increased five-fold in infants whose mothers reported they continued smoking beyond the first trimester, and four-fold in infants whose mothers reported they continued drinking beyond the first trimester.

According to the researchers, these risks were in comparison to infants who were either not exposed to tobacco or alcohol during gestation or whose mothers quit tobacco or alcohol use by the end of the first trimester. (IANS)