oa Quest - SALT observes super fast spirals - news

Volume 15 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1729-830X



When it comes to galaxies, how fast is fast? The Milky Way, an average spiral galaxy, spins at a speed of 210 km per second in our Sun’s neighbourhood. New research has found that the most massive spiral galaxies spin faster than expected. These ‘super spirals’, the largest of which weigh about 20 times more than our Milky Way, spin at a rate of up to 570 km per second! Only about 100 super spirals are known to date, and they are exceptional in almost every way. In addition to being much more massive than the Milky Way, they’re also brighter and larger in physical size. The largest span some 450 000 light-years compared to the Milky Way’s 100 000-light-year diameter.

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