Astronomers have prepared a map of the Galaxy with 3.32 billion stars and other objects

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of astronomers used images from the 570-megapixel DECam astronomical camera to compile the most detailed map of the Milky Way so far, showing over 3.32 billion stars and other objects present in the disk of our galaxy.

“Combining our images with those from the automated Pan-STARRS telescope allowed us to obtain a complete 360-degree view of the entire disk of the Milky Way, including a large number of extremely dim stars.

The resulting catalog allows us to map and study the three-dimensional structure of the Galaxy, as well as the distribution of dust accumulations and the stars in it with incredibly high accuracy,” said Andrew Saijari, a researcher at Harvard University (USA), quoted by the press service of NOIRLab.

The most powerful astronomical camera DECam was created in 2013 as part of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) project to search for traces of the existence of dark energy.

The ultra-high sensitivity of this camera, installed at the Chilean Cerro Tololo observatory, makes it possible to use this scientific instrument for other purposes, including studying objects in the solar system and the Milky Way.

In particular, in 2016, using images from DECam, astronomers discovered one of the most distant dwarf planets in the solar system, 2014 UZ224, on which the year lasts about 1139 years.

Saijari and his colleagues have been working for years to use DECam imagery and scientific data to produce the most detailed map of the Milky Way.

Recently, scientists have managed to prepare a map of the southern part of the Galaxy using photographs that were taken by the astronomical camera over the past two years of its work.

During this time, DECam has studied approximately 6.5% of the total area of ​​the night sky, which is equivalent in area to 13,000 full moons.

Astronomers analyzed the images she received and identified about 3.3 billion stars and other objects, whose existence was subsequently confirmed using images and scientific data obtained by the automated Pan-STARRS telescope and the GAIA orbiting observatory.

Combining these observations with images taken by DECam in the past while observing the northern part of the Milky Way, scientists have created the most detailed 3D map of the Galaxy.

As Sajdari and his colleagues hope, the map they created will allow astronomers to make significant progress in studying the principles of the distribution of stars, gas and dust across the disk of the Milky Way, which is extremely important for revealing the evolutionary history of our Galaxy and searching for traces of its interactions with other clusters of stars.

The subsequent cycles of DECam observations will allow expanding and supplementing this map, the researchers concluded.

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