Astronomers recently discovered something huge in the Milky Way, and they are still uncertain if it had always been a part of the galactic spiral arm or it was newly developed.

As described in a report by Wonderful Engineering, the new find called the Cattail was recently discovered in the spiral arm.

It is a long huge curl of gas, and its discoverers said they are uncertain about what it really is. It is one of the biggest gas filaments that has been found in the galaxy.

The team of astronomers from the Nanjing University in China wrote in the paper that the structure seems to be so far, the farthest, not to mention the hugest giant filament in the galaxy.

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Science Times - Discovery in the Milky Way: Astronomers Find a Gigantic Structure and They’re Still Figuring It Out What It Is
(Photo: Pablo Carlos Budassi on Wikimedia Commons)
Panoramic view in 360 degrees of the sky where the Milky Way forms a ring, and you can see the sun behind the Earth and the other objects of the solar system

The 'Cattail'

On the other hand, Astronomers believe that the Cattail could be part of a new spiral arm, although that reasoning is quite puzzling because the huge structure does not follow the galactic disk's complete wrap style.

To examine the new structure thoroughly, the research team used a large 500-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope to observe atomic hydrogen or HI clouds around the Cattail and map the organization of the arms of the Milky Way from within.

In the study, The discovery of the largest gas filament in our Galaxy, or a new spiral arm?, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the researchers wrote that while these questions stay open with the available data, the observations offer new understandings into the insights of the galactic structure.

The study authors' position inside the Milky Way makes it problematic to find out its actual size and three-dimensional structure and estimate the distance between various cosmic objects.

Therefore, it's not surprising when scientists don't discover something substantial or interesting when attempting to map objects, although, at times, even the tiniest of structures can change an entire galaxy's perspective.

Not the Only Strange Discovery in the Milky Way

The huge new structure's discovery is not the first time that occurred in the Milky Way. Last month, reported that a fast radio burst was discovered from within the galaxy for the first time. This report stated that astronomers might be closer to uncovering the then-new find's origin.

In April 2020, two ground-based radio telescopes detected strong pulses of radio waves. It lasted only a mere millisecond, although, for shocked astronomers, it was a major find, representing for the first time, an FRB or fast radio burst, had ever been detected so near the Earth.

Located only 30,000 light-years from Earth, the occurrence was firmly within the Milky Way, and it was, to all objectives, nearly impossible to miss.

Relatively, CHIME, or the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment and the STARE2 or Survey for Transient Astronomical Radio Emission 2 surely did not encounter problems picking it up.

According to physics assistant professor Kiyoshi Masui from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CHIME was not even looking in the right direction, and they still saw it loud and clear in their peripheral vision. He added, STARE2 also saw the same, and it is "only a set of a few radio antennae literally made out of cake pans."

A report about the huge new structure discovered in the Milky Way is shown on Anton Petrov's YouTube video below:


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