New Milky Way Map Reveals a View of Our Galaxy Four Times Bigger Than We've Ever Seen

Illustration for article titled New Milky Way Map Reveals a View of Our Galaxy Four Times Bigger Than We've Ever Seen

Seven years after their last effort at mapping our Galaxy, the APEX telescope has given us something even more complete: A map of the galaxy that covers four times the area of its previous best.

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This new map—that’s just one section of it above—is part of the ATLASGAL survey, an incredibly minute mapping mission which details the cold areas distributed throughout the Milky Way. If that alone doesn’t sound too exciting, researchers have used that information to track down star-making factories in the galaxy and get a better idea of just where they are as well as how they work.

This new map’s workings are explained in more than 70 different papers, primarily in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. The map covers an area 140 degrees long and 3 degrees wide. This not only gave it much bigger survey distance than before, but even previously mapped areas were shown in greater detail than seen before.

[ATLASGAL]

Image: ESO / APEX / ATLASGAL CONSORTIUM / NASA / GLIMPSE CONSORTIUM / ESA / PLANCK

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mwhite66
mwhite66

Fun fact: Why we call our galaxy the Milky Way: In myth Zeus sired a demigod son by a mortal woman, then brought the child to suckle at the breast of his wife Hera; her milk would make his son immortal. She realized the deception and pushed the child away, spilling milk across the sky to become the Milky Way. In fact the word “galaxy” derives from the greek word gala meaning milk.