An Accurate 3D Map of the Milky Way is Now Available

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As years passed researchers revealed thousands of images that showed how the Milky Way looked like but all of them were synthetic pictures created by artists.

A team of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (or NAOC) and the Macquirie University from Australia has assembled a paper that can dramatically change the way in which we perceive our galaxy.

The paper notes that the Milky Way is seems to be wilder than it was thought before, featuring several twist and warps that traverse the entire galaxy. It was previously thought that most spiral galaxies are flat. One such example is represented by the Andromeda Galaxy which is so flat that the trait can be easily observed through a telescope.

The intricacies of a galaxy

If we were to look at the Milky Way from a far-away point we would see a small disk of stars that orbit around the center of the galaxy in the span of millions of years.  The stars that comprise this region are connected by a high amount of dark matter which holds them together.

The warps are represented by a high number of hydrogen clouds that can be spotted in the outer regions of the galaxy. These clouds are affected by the massive gravitational pull of the inner region.  In order to determine the distance between the Sun and the outer parts of the disk the researchers used a selection of variable stars that yield a reasonable answer.

These stars are known as Cepheid and they have been used by astronomers as in order to learn lots of new information about the universe. Almost 1400 Cepheid stars were used in the study. The stars have a predictable use and their luminosity can be used in order to accurately measure distances. Using the stars the researchers were able to discover that the stellar disk seems to be warped in the form of a twisted spiral pattern.

The study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.


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