With more data, satellite will make 3-D atlas of galaxy
A new map of the galaxy, the most precise to date, reveals positions on the sky for over 1 billion stars both within and beyond the Milky Way.
This new galactic atlas, courtesy of the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft, also provides distances to roughly 2 million of those stars, laying the groundwork for astronomers who want to piece together the formation, evolution and structure of the Milky Way.
“This is a major advance in mapping the heavens,” Anthony Brown, an astrophysicist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said September 14 at a news briefing. “Out of the 1 billion stars, we estimate that over 400 million are new discoveries.”
There are no major cosmic revelations yet; those will develop in the months and years to come as astronomers pore over the data. This catalog of stars is just a first peek at what’s to come from Gaia, which is spending