Scientists created the colour picture by combining infrared light images from telescopes in the northern and southern hemispheres. Large structures of the Milky Way galaxy, such as gas and dust clouds where stars have formed and died, can be seen in the image.
The picture represents part of a 10-year project involving scientists from the UK, Europe and Chile, who gathered data from the two telescopes. The information has been processed and archived by teams at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, who have made it available to astronomers around the world for further studies.
Archived information from the project – known as the VISTA Data Flow System – is expected to enable scientists to carry out groundbreaking research in future years without the need to generate further data.
The image is being presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester today (Thursday 29 March). It shows the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, which is often described as looking like two fried eggs back-to-back, with a flat disc in the middle. Earth is close to the edge of this disc, and the image shows a cross-section through the disc as seen from Earth's perspective.
It combines data from the UKIDSS/GPS sky survey taken by the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii with the VVV survey from the VISTA telescope in Chile.
Astronomers used infrared radiation instead of visible light to enable them to see through much of the dust in the Milky Way and record details of the centre of the galaxy.
Scientists have published the image online with an interactive zoom tool that reveals the detail within. Zooming into the image reveals a tiny fraction of the entire picture, which alone contains more than 10,000 stars.
The work was supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
Dr Nick Cross, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics and Astronomy, said: "This incredible image gives us a new perspective of our galaxy, and illustrates the far-reaching discoveries we can make from large sky surveys. Having data processed, archived and published by dedicated teams leaves other scientists free to concentrate on using the data, and is a very cost-effective way to do astronomy."
Catriona Kelly | EurekAlert!
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences