Scientists Create Most Detailed Map Of The Milky Way Yet

Using the largest radio telescopes in the world, scientists have put together the most sensitive and detailed view of all of the hydrogen gas in and around the Milky Way.

AsianScientist (Oct. 31, 2016) – Australian scientists have worked with researchers in Germany to create the most detailed map of the Milky Way using the world’s largest radio telescopes. Their work was published in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The HI4PI project, which is a combination of an Australian survey and a German survey, provides the most sensitive and detailed view of all of the hydrogen gas in and around the Milky Way and will help solve the mysteries of our galaxy. The project involved ANU and the University of Western Australia in Australia, and the University of Bonn and Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany.

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. McClure-Griffiths’ research group at ANU was using the data map to answer the big questions about the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies. One of their observations was that very small gas clouds appear to have helped form stars in the Milky Way over billions of years.

The HI4PI project used the largest fully-steerable radio telescopes in the southern and northern hemispheres: Australia’s 64 m CSIRO Parkes dish and the 100 m Max-Planck telescope in Effelsberg, Germany.

“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,” McClure-Griffiths said.

McClure-Griffiths added that her research group would use the map to hone their work with the Square Kilometer Array and the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder, which will provide even more detailed maps of the Milky Way.

The article can be found at: Bekhti et al. (2016) HI4PI: A full-sky Hi Survey Based on EBHIS and GASS.


Source: Australian National University; Photo: Pexels.
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