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This 3D Color Map of 1.7 Billion Stars in the Milky Way Is the Best Ever Made (Video)

The European Space Agency released a new map of nearly 1.7 billion stars from the Gaia spacecraft, giving the best-ever view of the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies in color. (Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC)

Nearly 1.7 billion stars have been plotted in unprecedented detail with Wednesday’s (April 25) highly anticipated release of data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft.

The new 3D map, which was unveiled at the ILA Berlin Air Show, offers the best-ever look at the Milky Way — now in color — and promises to unleash hundreds of scientific discoveries about our galactic home and beyond.

“The first time I saw this I was at home, I turned off all the lights, and I just sat there in the dark for a while staring at this image because it’s really so beautiful,” Anthony Brown, an astronomer at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said during a press conference. Brown, who is chair of the consortium of 450 scientists and software engineers who are processing and validating the Gaia data, encouraged others to download the map and “go to a dark place and admire it.” [How the Gaia Galaxy-Mapping Satellite Works (Infographic)]   CONTINUE READING

Space, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, April 29, 2018