Astronomers have yet to unveil the most accurate 3D map of the Milky Way, an achievement that promises to shed new light on the workings of the galaxy and the mysteries of the vast universe.
The data, compiled by observers from the European Space Agency’s Gaia Observatory, contained a huge electronic atlas that has been scanning the sky since it exploded in 2013 in Cau, French Guiana.
There are enough details on the map for astronomers to measure the acceleration of the solar system and calculate the mass of the galaxy. These will provide clues about how the solar system is formed and the rate at which the universe expanded at the time of the universe.
Nicholas Walton, a member of the ESA Gaia science team at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, likened the attempt to fill in the blanks on ancient maps to the identification of unknown areas with the conviction that “there must be a dragon here”.
“What we’re really doing here is getting a very detailed map of the local universe that has three dimensions for stars up to hundreds of light years,” he said.
By writing down the position and motion of the stars, the explorer discovered the destructive process beyond the Milky Way. An unknown flow of stars drawn between two nearby galaxies proves that larger magnetic clouds are constantly consuming smaller magnetic clouds.
All the bodies that Gaia observes are quares, extremely distant and intensely bright objects that are one billion times the mass of the Sun driven by the black hole. By measuring the movement of the solar system in comparison, Guy’s data show that the solar system is moving towards the center of the Milky Way at a speed of about mm per second per year.
Known as the galaxy survey, Gaia orbits the planet from a gravitationally stable position, known as Langren Point, 930,000 miles from the Earth, opposite the Sun. Over the past seven years, the search has measured the position and velocity of about 2 billion stars. In addition to revealing trails of cosmic consumption, the data allow astronomers to piece together the distribution of matter in the Milky Way, from which they will directly estimate its mass.
Langer points are areas of space where gravitational forces tend to hold objects. For the Gaia Observatory, this means it requires minimal fuel to maintain its position. The distant orbit has another advantage: it is far away from the Earth to avoid light pollution that spoils the view of the stars.
According to Floor van Liuwen, who arranged data processing for Guy at the Institute for Astronomy, the acquisition allowed astronomers to “analyze our brightest neighborhood overseas, and address important questions about the origin and future of our galaxy.”
Caroline Harper, head of aerospace science at the UK Space Agency, said: “For thousands of years they have been increasing their perceptions of humanity about our universe as well as observing them and their exact locations and giving them details.
“Gaia has been looking at the sky for the last seven years, mapping the position and speed of the wire. Thanks to the telescopes we have in our possession today, the detailed Billion-Star 3D Atlas has been assembled so far. “
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