Sci-tech

New 3-D map of Milky Way will 'revolutionize astronomy'

New 3-D map of Milky Way will 'revolutionize astronomy'

In the words of the ESA, "Many of these hide stellar nurseries where new generations of stars are being born". Anthony Brown of the Netherlands' Leiden University said, "It's not fake, it's real measurements". Data also includes high-precision measurement of asteroids within our Solar System and stars beyond the Milky Way Galaxy.

The new map - created using data collected by the Gaia satellite - shows about 1.7 billion stars, including many objects never seen before, according to the European Space Agency (ESA), which runs Gaia.

The $1 billion (750 million euros) Gaia spacecraft launched in 2013 for a five-year mission to map the night sky with unmatched accuracy. Unlike space telescopes such as Hubble that orbit the Earth, Gaia can scan the universes without Earth obstructing a big portion of its view. Each star is determined 70 times usually.

Gaia's all-sky view of our Milky Way Galaxy and neighbouring galaxies.

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In 2016, Gaia first released data from its star catalog spanning 14 months of constant observation. He said: "Spectra provide the critical information to complement Gaia's astrometry, providing line of sight (radial, Doppler-shift) velocities and precise measures of stellar chemical element abundances".

This multitude of measurements for each star can then be plotted to show its varying brightness as it moves around the galaxy and how it changes in size as it pulsates.

ESA's Gaia satellite is a feat of optical engineering. This added extra has allowed the orbits of thousands of rocky and icy bodies to be mapped so accurately, that the data collected by Gaia in just over a year has eclipsed over a century's worth of data collected by other means. Gaia is an ambitious mission that relies on a huge human collaboration to make sense of a large volume of highly complex data. Brown told Space.com that he expects the first scientific manuscripts using the new Gaia data to be uploaded to preprint servers (such as arXiv) by tomorrow or Friday (April 26-27).

The newly released information is far more exact and extensive.

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Throughout today's release, Brown and his coworkers revealed numerous images, consisting of a brand-new map of the clouds of gas and dust in the galaxy and a brand-new visualization of the orbits of 75 ancient globular clusters and 12 dwarf galaxies that focus on the Milky Way.

The data provided by the ESA includes positions, distance indicators and motions of over a billion stars.

In the image it's possible to see the plane of the Milky Way and its dust bands, and over a billion stars. Analysis of the motions of stars within a few thousand light years indicates subtle patterns that may be the result of past mergers with smaller galaxies, the Milky Way's spiral arm architecture or perturbations from a concentration of stars across the center of the galaxy. "We know exactly where the stars are".

"You see the whole Milky Way in motion around its axis".

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Antonella Valenari, a Gaia scientist from the University of Padua in Italy, introduced a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram based on the new Gaia data. This kind of diagram compares the brightness of stars with their color as a method to take a look at populations of stars and their advancement. These microscopic movements are all the more important as the stars are close to us, which allows us to deduce their distance, by a simple geometric rule. "For us this diagram is like opening a chocolate box".


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