Map of Milky Way – level 3

20-09-2016 07:00

The European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite is in the process of assembling the most detailed 3D map ever made of the Milky Way Galaxy, including tracking the exact positions and movements of a billion stars.

The satellite is now three years into its mission and the ESA released details of two million stars. From this, the organisation managed to create a virtual journey from our solar system through the Milky Way until we reach 150 light years away.

The information gathered will help answer questions about our galaxy’s structure and how it is evolving. To do this, the spaceship is orbiting around what is called the L2 Lagrangian points while utilising a billion-pixel camera.

We will not get to see the full map with 1 billion stars until the end of 2017. Then we will really know what is beyond the dark side of the moon.

Difficult words: assemble (put together), track (follow the movement of something), gather (collect), utilise (make use of).

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