双语小知识(六)

曹燕

Amateur Astronomer - - CONTENTS -

There’s a lot more to the Milky Way than meets the eye.银河,远比目之所及辽阔得多。

Most of what we think of as the Milky Way galaxy is contained in a thin disk of stars and gas that’s about a hundred thousand lightyears wide. But there’s a lot more material outside the disk than inside.

我们往往认为银河系就是包含在薄薄银盘中的恒星和气体,其跨度大约为十万光年。但是,银盘之外的物质远比银盘内部多得多。

The region outside the disk is known as the halo. It forms a ball that completely surrounds the disk, and it’s several times wider than the disk.

银盘外部的区域被称为银晕。它形成了完全环绕银盘的球形,比银盘的宽度大出几倍。

There aren’t all that many individual stars in the halo. But the halo is home to the galaxy’s globular clusters — tightly packed balls of hundreds of thousands of stars. Most of the clusters lie outside the disk, but even those that are inside the disk are just passing through — they belong to the halo.

银晕中没有那么多单独的恒星,但是那里却是球状星团的家园(球状星团是成千上万颗恒星拥挤在一起形成的圆球)。绝大多数星团居于银盘外部,即便是那些身在银盘内部的星团也仅仅是过客而已,它们终究属于银晕。

The stars in globular clusters are the oldest in the entire Milky Way.

球状星团中的恒星是整个银河系中最古老的。

A second component of the halo is hot gas. It produces an X-ray glow that was discovered a few years ago. The gas may equal the mass of all the stars in the galaxy — doubling the amount of the Milky Way’s “normal” matter.

银晕的另一个组成元素是炽热的气体。这形成了我们几年前发现的X射线辉光。这些气体可能与银河系中所有的恒星质量相当,让银河的“总”物质量翻了一倍。

Most of the stuff that makes up the Milky Way is dark matter, which is the halo’s main component. Dark matter produces no energy, but its gravity tugs at the visible matter around it. It may consist of subatomic particles that are still awaiting discovery.

绝大多数装扮银河的物质是暗物质,这也是银晕的主要组成成分。暗物质并不产生能量,但其引力却能把周围的可见物质拖曳过来。它可能由等待被发现的亚原子微粒组成。

The dark matter is several times more massive than all the galaxy’s stars and gas combined — so there’s a lot more to the Milky Way than meets the eye.

暗物质可能比银河系恒星和气体的总和还要庞大上几倍,正因为如此,银河也比可见的大出许多。

箭袋树森林上方的银河。影像拍摄于非洲纳米比亚南部的一座箭袋树森林,璀璨银河与憨态可掬的箭袋树相映成趣。当然,图片中可见的银河仅仅是整个银河的一部分。图片来源:Florian Breuer摄影作品

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