Our universe is a mysterious place and so is the tiny spot where our solar system exists, called the Milky Way.
While the Hubble telescope has given us an expanded view of universe but our home, The Milky Way, has not yet been seen before the way it has been now.
A very interesting discovery has been recently published in the journal Science where scientists, for the first time, have been able to measure the distance to a group of stars on the opposite side of our galaxy.
This allows them to map as to how the Milky Way looks like.
This team of scientists used VLBA or Very Long Baseline Array, which is a group of 10 telescopes, spread across North America, in order to measure the distance to a distant star-forming region known as G007.47+00.05.
According to the scientists, this was measure in the Scutum Centaurus Arm of the Milky Way. This interesting discovery, at least, proves that arm exists.
The technique they used to measure the distance to stars by noting the change in angle to the distant region when our Earth was on opposite side of the Sun is known as Parallax.
It has an inverse relationship. This means, the smaller the angle, the greater the distance.
Scientists say, visualizing the far side is quiet difficult since the interstellar dust is blocking optical light.
During this phenomenon, scientists also traced motions of methanol and water molecules in distant star-forming region.
As a result of this, they were able to measure a mind-boggling distance of 66,000 light years which is based on observations made back in 2014 and 2015.
Previously, they were able to record parallax at 36,000 light years.
Alberto Sanna from Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) said, “This measurement corresponds to being able to measure a baseball on the lunar surface. We are essentially measuring the distance to an object which is located on the other side of the galaxy with respect to the Sun.”
This discovery was made as a part of broader survey known as BASSAL and its purpose is to measure the distances to star-forming regions all through the Milky Way. Finally, the goal is reconstructing the face-on view of the Milky Way from a million light-years in the upcoming 10 years.
So far, these results have been quiet interesting. Even though VLBA has been around for the past couple of decades; however, the parallax technique has finally confirmed this measurement.
The same team of scientists is now mapping the distances to other portions of galaxy with about a quarter left unchartered.