An international group of astronomers has released the most updated and most detailed catalog of stars in the Milky Way - a three-dimensional map that includes almost 2 billion of these space objects, according to the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain.
The team's two previous releases of the 3D catalog have already combined data on more than 1.6 billion stars.
Now, to the already existing map, scientists have added data on about 300 thousand objects located at a distance of 326 light years from the Sun.
In addition, in the new edition of the catalog, the position of the stars is determined much more accurately than in previous editions.
Recall that data on the stars, structure and evolution of the Milky Way are collected by the orbiting telescope Gaia (Global Astrometric Interferometer for Astrophysics) of the European Space Agency.
In 2013, it was launched into space using the Russian Soyuz STB launch vehicle, after which it reached a certain point at a distance of 1.5 million km from Earth for a long and unobstructed view of the sky.
Gaia continuously scans the sky, tracking the parallax effect - the change in the apparent position of objects in relation to the distant background, depending on where the observer is.
In this case, we are talking about an observatory located inside the solar system.
The data obtained make it possible to calculate the brightness, color, temperature, trajectories of the stars in the sky and their distance from the Sun.
Also, the results of observations make it possible to carry out spectral analysis and determine the chemical composition of objects.
Researchers use these data in order to predict changes in the sky in the next 1.6 million years.
Thus, scientists for the first time presented the results of optical measurements of the annual acceleration of the solar system in its orbit relative to the center of the galaxy.
This acceleration is considered soft and is 7 mm / s at an orbital speed of 230 km / s.
The two main satellites of the Milky Way, dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds
© ESA / Gaia / DPAC
The Gaia data also includes information on two satellites of the Milky Way - the dwarf galaxies, the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds.
Various clusters of stars located here, as well as a star "bridge" between them, were captured by the objective of the observatory's telescope.
“The Gaia telescope accurately measures distances to hundreds of millions of objects thousands of light years away.
It is like measuring the thickness of a hair from a distance of more than 2 thousand km.
The data obtained are becoming one of the cornerstones of astrophysics, allowing us to conduct a scientific analysis of our space surroundings and solve the most important questions about the origin and future of our Galaxy ", - this is how the employee of the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Cambridge, project manager at the British Consortium for Processing and Analysis, described the mission of the orbital observatory data from the Gaia Space Telescope Flor van Leeuwen.
Gaia will continue to collect data until at least 2022.
The mission is expected to be extended until 2025.
Scientists expect that the final editions of the galactic map will make it possible to include more than 2 billion objects in the star catalog and determine their position 1.9 times more accurately than now.