Weighing the Milky Way

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Using a new measurement technique, researchers have found that the Milky Way (artist rendition top) has half the mass of the Andromeda Galaxy (image below). Credit for Andromeda image: ESA/Hubble & Digitized Sky Survey 2, Davide De Martin. Credit for Milky Way: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

A study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society by an international group of researchers, including Matthew Walker of Carnegie Mellon University’s McWilliams Center for Cosmology, demonstrates a new, more accurate method for measuring the mass of galaxies. Using this method, the researchers have shown that the Milky Way has only about half the mass of its neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy.