Astronomers measure Milky Way with radio waves

392007 01: This image recorded by the Hubble telescope on July 10, 2001 shows two clusters of stars, called NGC 1850, located in a neighboring galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud. The photo''s centerpiece is a young, "globular-like" star cluster - a type of object unknown in our own Milky Way Galaxy. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A collection of radio telescopes that spans thousands of miles and is remotely operated from central New Mexico has measured a span of 66,000 light-years (one light-year is equal to 6 trillion miles) from Earth across the Milky Way’s center to a star-forming area near the edge of the other side of the galaxy.

The Albuquerque Journal reports astronomers say they hope to measure additional points around the galaxy to produce a map — the first of its kind — over the next decade.

Alberto Sanna of Germany’s Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy said in a news release that using the Very Long Baseline Array, which is remotely operated near Socorro, allows astronomers to “accurately map the whole extent of our galaxy.”

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