At Home in the Universe

Astronomers lay bare the Milky Way’s biggest secrets

By Alexandra Witze, 13:20 PM May 31, 2012

When Lewis and Clark started exploring the West, they didn’t know much about what lay beyond St. Louis. Neither, at first, did astronomers know much about cosmic realms beyond Uranus.

But just as 19th century explorers filled in huge blanks on the American map, so did 20th century skywatchers flesh out a much greater map — of frontiers far beyond the solar system, out across the entire Milky Way. Now, in the last few years, cosmic cartography has again redrawn modern science’s picture of th...

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