Astronomers have almost doubled the previous record for a distance measurement within our galaxy, paving the way for a complete galactic map .
Cartographing with VLBA
We can not see the Milky Way as we do other galaxies, and that's because we live inside it, although we can look along its edge while embedded in its disk.
However, in a study published in Science a team of researchers directly measured the distance to a star of the Milky Way, breaking the previous record for a direct distance measurement within our galaxy.
According to the lead author of the study, Alberto Sanna Max-Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy (MPIfr), "this means that, using VLBA, we can now accurately correlate the entire extent of our galaxy "
Earlier attempts to accurately observe and map the opposite side of the Milky Way have largely failed due to interstellar dust intertwined in the galactic plane, which prevents optical light from reaching us. But, unlike optical light, radio waves can pass unobstructed through interstellar dust .
Astronomers make a giant leap towards the mapping of the Milky Way.