Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D map shows dusty structure of the Milky Way

Date:
June 23, 2014
Source:
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
Summary:
Astronomers have created a detailed three-dimensional map of the dusty structure of the Milky Way – the star-studded bright disc of our own galaxy – as seen from Earth’s northern hemisphere.

Detail from map at 9000 light years (3 kiloparsec). The map is coloured according to how much dust lies in each direction in the northern Milky Way. The red/brown areas are dustiest directions.
Credit: Sale et al/IPHAS

A team of international astronomers has created a detailed three-dimensional map of the dusty structure of the Milky Way -- the star-studded bright disc of our own galaxy -- as seen from Earth's northern hemisphere. The map will be presented by Prof Janet Drew of the University of Hertfordshire at the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) 2014 in Portsmouth on Monday 23 June.

Related Articles


Dust and gas, making up the Interstellar Medium (ISM), fill space between stars in galaxies. The dust in the ISM is shaped by turbulent flows that form intricate fractal structures on scales ranging from thousands of light years down to hundreds of kilometres. Rather than measuring the dust itself to create the map, the team has used observations of more than 38 million stars to estimate how much starlight has been obscured by the ISM and thus how much dust lies in our line of sight to each star. This 'extinction' map derives from the newly released catalogue of the Isaac Newton Telescope Photometric H-alpha Survey of the Northern Galactic Plane (IPHAS), the first digital survey to cover the entire northern Milky Way.

"Because the Solar System is embedded in the disc of the Milky Way, our view of it is choked with dust, with the result we know less about its internal structure than we do about some external galaxies, such as M31 in Andromeda. " said Drew, the Principal Investigator for the IPHAS survey. "In this Northern survey, we are mainly looking at the parts of the Galactic disc that lie outside the Sun's orbit around the Galactic Centre. This 3-D map demonstrates with greater force than existing 2-D maps that dust in the outer disc does not trace the Perseus spiral arm and other expected structures in a simple way."

The map shows how extinction builds with distance away from the Sun (typically out to 12000 light years or more) in any part of the surveyed northern Milky Way. Detail on an angular scale 7 times finer than the angular size of the moon is caught. The fractal nature of the ISM is visible in the map, as are large-scale features, such as star-forming molecular clouds and bubbles of ionized gas around clusters of hot stars.

"We can see a number of specific features, including the Rosette Nebula and the star-forming belt in the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way," said Dr Stuart Sale, who led the team that created the map. "Our location within the Milky Way means that we can study the ISM in far greater detail than for any other galaxy. The knowledge that we gain from studying our own galaxy can subsequently be applied to others."

"IPHAS has been a major part of the Isaac Newton Telescope's programme of observation over the last decade. It is one of several ground-based surveys beginning to provide important new and very large collections of data, complementing ESA's Gaia mission as it starts its work, that are being discussed at NAM 2014. The common goal is to properly unravel the full 3-D spatial organisation of our own Galaxy," said Drew.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "3-D map shows dusty structure of the Milky Way." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092331.htm>.
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). (2014, June 23). 3-D map shows dusty structure of the Milky Way. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092331.htm
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "3-D map shows dusty structure of the Milky Way." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092331.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) China launched an experimental spacecraft Friday to fly around the moon and back to Earth in preparation for the country's first unmanned return trip to the lunar surface. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) The mission is China's next step toward automated sample-return missions and eventual manned missions to the moon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 22, 2014) Russian cosmonauts Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev step outside the International Space Station to perform work on the exterior of the station's Russian module. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins