Orion Arm

4 years ago by in Astronomy, Astronomy Tagged: ,

The Orion Arm is a minor spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy some 3,500 light-years (1,100 parsecs) across and approximately 10,000 light-years (3,100 parsecs) in length. The Solar System and therefore the Earth lies within the Orion Arm. It is also referred to by its full name, the Orion–Cygnus Arm, as well as Local ArmOrion BridgeLocal Spur and Orion Spur.

The Orion Arm is named for the Orion constellation, which is one of the most prominent constellations of Northern Hemisphere winter (Southern Hemisphere summer). Some of the brightest stars and most famous celestial objects of this constellation (Betelgeuse, Rigel, the stars of Orion’s Belt, the Orion Nebula) are located within the Orion Arm, as shown on the interactive map below.

Our Local Arm is located between the Carina–Sagittarius Arm (toward the Galactic Center) and the Perseus Arm (toward the outside Universe), the latter one of the two major arms of the Milky Way. Long thought to be a minor structure, a “spur” between the two longer adjacent arms Perseus and Carina-Sagittarius, evidence was presented in mid 2013 that it might be in fact a branch of the Perseus Arm, or possibly an independent arm segment itself.

Within the Orion Arm, our Solar System and Earth are located close to the inner rim in the Local Bubble, about halfway along the Orion Arm’s length, approximately 8,000 parsecs (26,000 light-years) from the Galactic Center.

 

 

 

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