The New Milky Way

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Science  17 Jun 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4603, pp. 1233-1240
DOI: 10.1126/science.220.4603.1233


Our understanding of the large-scale structure of the Milky Way has undergone considerable revision during the past few years. The Galaxy is larger and much more massive than was previously supposed; the newly discovered mass consists of nonluminous matter which is likely to be the dominant form of matter in the universe. New analyses of the atomic hydrogen gas show that the disk of the Galaxy is about twice as extended as was previously thought. Beyond the sun, the gas is concentrated in large-scale, coherent spiral arms indicative of a regular four-armed spiral pattern. The outer edge of the disk has a remarkable scalloping.