Environment New Milky Way map to help solve galaxy’s mysteries

New Milky Way map to help solve galaxy’s mysteries

Astronomers in Germany and Australia have used two of the world’s largest telescopes to produce a new, super-detailed map of our galaxy.

They charted hydrogen — the most abundant element in the universe and the main component of stars and galaxies — to give an unprecedented view of the Milky Way.

Team leader for the Australian survey, Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths from The Australian National University (ANU), said the study revealed for the first time the fine details of structures between stars in the Milky Way.

“Very small gas clouds appear to have helped form stars in the Milky Way over billions of years,” she said.

The project used the largest fully steerable radio telescopes in the southern and northern hemispheres, Australia’s 64m CSIRO Parkes dish and the 100m Max-Planck telescope in Effelsberg, Germany.

Professor McClure-Griffiths said her research group at ANU was using the data map to answer the big questions about the Milky Way and neighbouring galaxies.

“How does the Milky Way get the new gas it requires to continue forming stars? And where are all of the small dwarf galaxies that must surround our Milky Way? The next steps will be exciting,” she said.

You can read more about this project here. Story credit: Australian National University newsroom.

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