The Milky Way isn't like other barred spiral galaxies. Instead of a nice, tidy flat disc, it has a kink in its spine, a twist in its swagger. As we have long known, and two separate studies recently confirmed, the Milky Way is seriously warped around the edges, a strange idiosyncrasy that's been puzzling astronomers for years.
In a wild galaxy over half a billion light-years away, astronomers have detected molecular oxygen. It's only the third such detection ever outside the solar system – and the first outside the Milky Way.
A titanic, expanding beam of energy sprang from close to the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way just 3.5 million years ago, sending a cone-shaped burst of radiation through both poles of the Galaxy and out into deep space.
Astronomers have created the most precise map to date of the Milky Way by tracking thousands of big pulsating stars spread throughout the galaxy, demonstrating that its disk of myriad stars is not flat but dramatically warped and twisted in shape.
Mid-sized objects known as brown dwarfs are said to be the missing link between planets and stars, being too large to be considered a planet, but not massive enough to sustain hydrogen fusion at the core.