Hydrogen Map of Milky Way Created

A team of scientists from Australia and Germany have created the most detailed hydrogen map ever produced of the Milky Way.

The map was pieced together using data collected over the past 10 years by two radio telescopes.

Astronomers used the two telescopes — in Parkes, New South Wales and Effelsberg, Germany — to study neutral hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe.

The map, produced by a survey named the HI4PI, shows the Milky Way’s finer details, including the boundaries of super shells created by giant explosions.

An animation of the data shows two revolving spheres, similar to the globe of the Earth, with the sky plotted on each.

The map’s sensitivity means scientists can see the two nearest galaxies to Earth — the Magellanic Clouds — and the stream of gas flowing from them across the Milky Way.

The SKA, which will be the world’s largest radio telescope, is being built in WA and South Africa.

The research looked at neutral atomic hydrogen – the most abundant element in space and the main component of stars and galaxies – across the whole sky in a survey known as HI4PI.

The project required more than a million individual observations and about ten billion individual data points.