Our Sun orbits the center of the galaxy, completing its revolution every 250 million years or so. So Christiansen’s animation shows that the last time our Solar System was at its current point in the galaxy, the Triassic Period was in full swing and dinosaurs were starting to emerge.
Many of the most iconic dinosaurs roamed the Earth when the planet was in a very different part of the Milky Way. Christiansen got the idea to illustrate this story when he was leading a stargazing event at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. when she mentioned that our Solar System had crossed the galaxy when dinosaurs roamed.
“It was the first time I realized that these time scales – archaeological, fossil record and astronomical scales – actually combine,” Christiansen told Business Insider. “So I had the idea of mapping the evolution of dinosaurs through the rotation of the galaxy,” he concluded.
Christiansen said it took about four hours to make the video using animations programmed into PowerPoint. She also noted some minor corrections to the text: Plesiosaurs are not dinosaurs, and we complete a galactic orbit every 250 million years, not 200 million.
A spiral in spaceThe video is interesting, however, galactic motion is more complicated than it shows. The other stars and planetary systems in the galaxy are also moving, at different speeds and in different orbits.
The inner parts of the Milky Way rotate faster than the outer regions, for example. What’s more, the galaxy itself is moving through space, slowly approaching the Andromeda Galaxy. local, but in reality the whole galaxy has moved a lot,” Christiansen said.
“It’s more like we’re spiraling through space. As the entire galaxy moves and rotates around the center, it kind of creates this spiral,” she concluded. So in the Solar System’s translation around the galactic center, we’re not returning to a fixed point. The space is different from the last time we were here.
[SCIENCE ALERT], [Space]