NASA performed a new measurement of the mass of the Milky Way galaxy using the Hubble and Gaia space telescopes. Not only do the new measurements show that our home galaxy is larger than many of its peers, but also that the overwhelming majority of that weight is invisible dark matter – opening tantalizing mysteries of what includes those parts of the Milky Way we cannot see.
“The new mass calculation puts our galaxy on the steak side compared to other galaxies in the universe,” reads a research NASA blog post.
According to NASA’s new surveys, the Milky Way weighs in at about 1.5 trillion star masses, meaning it has 1.5 trillion times the Earth’s sun.
The Milky Way has only 200 billion stars ̵
1; plus a black hole in its heart that weighs as much as four million stars – accounting for only about 13 percent of its mass.
This means that much of the rest of the Milky Way mass is something we cannot see – probably a mysterious substance physics ts dark matter.
“Most of the rest of the masses are locked in dark matter, an invisible and mysterious substance that acts as scaffolding throughout the universe and holds the stars in their galaxies,” read NASA’s blog post.