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Q & A: Rotation of galaxies

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Most recent answer: 12/30/2014
Dear department of physics,I had a question concerning the movement of galaxies. In particular the movement of the Milky Way. When you look at the Milky Way, you can see that it's disk-shapes form (or "wheel") moves in a specific direction. This lead me to a question I hope you could answer: why does it move in the direction that it does and not the other way around? And more importantly: does the direction of the movement of the milky way say anything about movement on universal scale? Like some sort of coriolis effect but then on a much grander scale? I hope you have the answer to this question!Regards,Wouter
- Wouter (age 24)

Dear Wouter,

The axes of the galaxies can be easily detected by means of Doppler shifts of the constituent stars on their edges.  Rotational studies of many, many galaxies have been made.  The data show that there is no particular correlation in the direction of their alignment.   





(published on 12/30/2014)

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