A brilliant new map shows off the clouds of the Milky Way like never before.
The new image reveals the entire plane of the galaxy as seen from the Southern Hemisphere as part of the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL).
The survey was able to cover part of the sky 3 degrees wide and 140 degrees long. (For reference, your fist held to the sky at arm’s length covers about 10 degrees of sky.)
This map is four times larger than the first ATLASGAL release in 2009.
«The new image includes most of the regions of star formation in the southern Milky Way,» the European Southern Observatory said in a statement releasing the new photo Wednesday.
The new map reveals what the Milky Way looks like in the wavelengths of light between infrared and radio, not visible to the human eye.
Viewing the universe in infrared can show parts of the cosmos not seen in visible light. That kind of observation can tell scientists more about where new stars could form.
«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, of the European Southern Observatory, said in the statement.
«The new release of the full survey opens up the possibility to mine this marvelous dataset for new discoveries.»