What a new map tells us about the Milky Way

By charting the concentration of neutral hydrogen, the most abundant element in space, a team of international researchers have created a detailed survey of the Milky Way. 

Combining 10 billion individual data points and thousands of hours of telescope observations at the Parkes Observatory in Australia and Effelsberg 100-m Radio Telescope in Germany, the HI4PI map shows concentration of stars in the Milky Way as well as the surrounding dwarf galaxies. The research, which began in 2006, was published Wednesday in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics and has the potential to make future research about the Milky Way and even surrounding galaxies more accurate. 

“We’ve been able to produce a whole-sky image that in many ways is greater than the sum of its parts,” Lister Staveley-Smith of the International Center of Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) told CNN. “The new map gives us a much more coherent view of the sky and enables a better understanding of the Milky Way.” READ MORE.