The Milky Way has been mapped and is ready for new reveals as scientists will now have an easier access to data relevant to the formation and processes of our Solar System.
The research project, which led to the creation of the HI4PI map, was initiated in 2006 and marks the collaboration between the Effelsberg 100-m German Radio Telescope and the Australian Parkes Observatory. The study was published this Wednesday in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal.
The project is based on the data collected by the two space observatories, data which includes some thousand hours of observation from both telescopes, and also individual data points whose numbers reaches the 10 billion mark.
The HI4PI map relies on the concentration levels of neutral hydrogen, which is also the element most abundantly found in the Milky Way and in the dwarf galaxies surrounding it, and which helped scientists create the in-detail survey of the system.
The result should be able to help scientists everywhere acquire a better understanding and also gain more accurate knowledge about both our Milky Way and the galaxies surrounding it and visible to us.
The fact that researchers have been able to create a whole map image of the region will enable a more coherent view and subsequent understanding of the area than the individual study of its different parts.
The Milky Way Map is an animation that shows how the system looked like 180,000 light years back in the past from a viewpoint situated here on Earth.
The map, which follows the outer space hydrogen, exhibits the spatial relation and speed of the gas in relation to our planet. The brightest colors signify a large gas accumulation, and when the screen fills with these bright colors, it means the gas is closest to our planet.
The HI4PI map is not the only one of the kind, as a previous cartography of the Milky Way in relation to its hydrogen levels was also developed by the Leiden-Argentine-Bonn (LAB) research.
However, the current results have an increased sensitivity factor and a four times better angular resolution factor. As such, it offers a much more accurate and clearer version of the Milky Way area.
An example of its accuracy is the fact that it was able to detect the clouds that exist in between our galaxy’s stars.
The project’s scientists hope that this new map will help researchers understand the formation methods of the stars within our galaxy, and also help them figure out where the materials that fueled this formations originated from.
Image Source: Wikimedia