The mass of our galaxy? The answer is 42.

by Caleb Reading

Via The Australian:

AFTER pondering the weighty question of the mass of the Milky Way galaxy, astronomers have come up with an answer: 42.

That is, our galaxy weighs three times 10 to the power of 42 kilograms – a number written as 3 followed by 42 zeroes, which has echoes of author Douglas Adams’s fictional answer to the question of life, the universe and everything in his series Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It seems esoteric but knowing the weight [correction: mass] of the galaxy – the amount of matter it contains – is key to solving important astronomical problems.