The most detailed map of the Milky Way is created with the world’s largest radio telescopes

Milky Way

Recently, scientists from Australia and Germany worked together and created the most detailed map of the Milky Way, using the world’s largest radio telescopes.

The HI4PI project is a combination of an Australian survey and a German survey.

It uses the largest fully steerable radio telescopes in the southern and northern hemispheres, Australia’s 64m CSIRO Parkes dish telescope and the 100m Max-Planck telescope in Effelsberg, Germany.

The project can provide the most sensitive and detailed view of all of the hydrogen gas in and around the Milky Way and will help solve the mysteries of our galaxy.

It improves the previous neutral hydrogen study, the Leiden-Argentine-Bonn (LAB) survey, by a factor of two in sensitivity and a factor of four in angular resolution.

Researchers from The Australian National University are using the data map to answer the big questions about the Milky Way and neighbouring galaxies.

One question is how the Milky Way gets the new gas it requires to continue forming stars. Another question is where all of the small dwarf galaxies surround the Milky Way.

Researchers will use the map to hone their work with the Square Kilometre Array and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, which will provide even more detailed maps of the Milky Way.

The HI4PI project involved ANU and the University of Western Australia in Australia, and the University of Bonn and Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany.

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Citation: Ben Bekhti N, et al. (2016). The research article, titled ‘HI4PI: A full-sky Hi survey based on EBHIS and GASS’. Astronomy and Astrophysics, published online. DOI:
Figure legend: This image is credited to Ben Bekhti N et al.