Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Why not a spherical Milky Way?
Name: tamar c
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1993 - 1999


Question:
Why does the Milky Way spiral on a single plane? Why doesn't it look more like a sphere?


Replies:
Good question! There are spherical (more accurately called elliptical because they look more like a football than a basketball) galaxies as well as spiral galaxies as well as irregular galaxies. Galaxy formation is not a well understood process, but spirals probably result when the angular momentum of the galactic proto-cloud exceeds some threshold. I don't know of any theories explaining barred spirals which is what we now think is what the Milky Way is.

John Hawley



Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory