Home News Milky Way: Scientists create the most detailed map of our galaxy ever

Milky Way: Scientists create the most detailed map of our galaxy ever

Scientists have created the first complete map of very own Milky Way of which our parent star, the Sun is a member. The detailed map was created by using two large fully steerable radio telescopes in Germany and Australia. The map details the structures between the stars in our galaxy for the first time.

It is one of the most detailed maps of the Milky Way said Prof. Lister Staveley –Smith from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Australia. The research titled HI4PI looks at neutral atomic Hydrogen, which is one of the most abundant element in space and the major component of stars and galaxies across this universe.

The project required an exhaustive list of a million individual observation and ten billion different data points. Though it is very easy to identify individual atomic Hydrogen, mapping the complete Milky Way is a significant achievement. It was even more challenging because of the radio noises created by the billion mobile phones and radio broadcasts which make the faint emissions coming from distant stars and galaxies in the universe even more challenging.

Sophisticated computer algorithms had to be created to filter out the unwanted human interferences from the data points. Thousands of hours of careful observation followed many hours of careful analysis went in before the final product was ready. The colors on the map reveal velocities of the approaching and receding hydrogen gas about Earth. The brightness corresponds to the amount of the Hydrogen. The plane of the Milky Way runs horizontally across the centre, and the blots on the right are the Magellanic Clouds.

The surveys used the Radio telescopes of Parkes Observatory in Australia and the Effelsberg 100m Radio Telescope at the Max-Planck Institute. Having a better knowledge of the neutral Hydrogen in the Milky Way will assist astronomers to explore galaxies even at cosmological distances.


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