3 years ago

Mapping spiral structure on the far side of the Milky Way

Alberto Sanna, Thomas M. Dame, Mark J. Reid, Karl M. Menten, Andreas Brunthaler

Little is known about the portion of the Milky Way lying beyond the Galactic center at distances of more than 9 kiloparsec from the Sun. These regions are opaque at optical wavelengths because of absorption by interstellar dust, and distances are very large and hard to measure. We report a direct trigonometric parallax distance of 20.4–2.2+2.8 kiloparsec obtained with the Very Long Baseline Array to a water maser source in a region of active star formation. These measurements allow us to shed light on Galactic spiral structure by locating the Scutum-Centaurus spiral arm as it passes through the far side of the Milky Way and to validate a kinematic method for determining distances in this region on the basis of transverse motions.

Publisher URL: http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/358/6360/227

DOI: 10.1126/science.aan5452

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