Gorgeous new Milky Way image maps our galaxy's dust

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Gorgeous New Milky Way Image Maps Our Galaxy's Dust

Astronomers have unveiled a huge, gorgeous new image of the Milky Way. It's the result of the ATLASGAL project — a complete survey of our galaxy's interstellar dust. That's right. Dust.

Space is full of dust, and the APEX telescope in Chile is able to detect it. When you map the galaxy's dust, you map the galaxy.

You can think of the new image as a portrait of the Milky Way, but from the side. So it's a very long and thin photo, but incredibly detailed.

The highlights you can see include nebulas where stars are being born and the crowded galactic center, which surrounds a supermassive black hole.

Click through to see the newly released images:

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Gorgeous new Milky Way image maps our galaxy's dust
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Gorgeous new Milky Way image maps our galaxy's dust

A spectacular new image of the Milky Way has been released to mark the completion of the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL). The APEX telescope in Chile has mapped the full area of the Galactic Plane visible from the southern hemisphere for the first time at submillimetre wavelengths — between infrared light and radio waves — and in finer detail than recent space-based surveys. The pioneering 12-metre APEX telescope allows astronomers to study the cold Universe: gas and dust only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero.

(Photo via ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck)

The southern plane of the Milky Way from the ATLASGAL survey.

(Photo via ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck)

The southern plane of the Milky Way from the ATLASGAL survey (annotated).

(Photo via ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck)

Comparison of the central part of the Milky Way at different wavelengths.

(Photo via ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck)

Comparison of the central part of the Milky Way at different wavelengths (annotated).

(Photo via ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck)

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