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Feb 24, 2016 09:18 AM EST

Scientists Complete Ultra-Long, High-Res Map of the Milky Way Galaxy

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A team of scientists released a high detailed map of the Milky Way Galaxy that focuses on where the super-cold gas that aids star formation lies.

According to BBC News, the new map captured an image of our galaxy 140 degrees across and three degrees wide. In addition to showing more of the Milky Way, the map is also clearer and more detailed.

Using the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope in Chile and situated at an altitude just more than 5,000 meters, the scientists developed what they called the Apex Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ALTASGAL).

"ATLASGAL provides exciting insights into where the next generation of high-mass stars and clusters form. By combining these with observations from Planck, we can now obtain a link to the large-scale structures of giant molecular clouds," Timea Csengeri, of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, said in a press release.

Before its completion, ALTASGAL was producing data on the gas that fills our galaxy as early as 2009 and served as the subject of dozens of scientific studies.

"ATLASGAL has allowed us to have a new and transformational look at the dense interstellar medium of our own galaxy, the Milky Way," Leonardo Testi, a European Southern Observatory member of the ATLASGAL team, said in the release. "The new release of the full survey opens up the possibility to mine this marvelous dataset for new discoveries. Many teams of scientists are already using the ATLASGAL data to plan for detailed ALMA follow-up."

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