Researchers in Germany and Australia have created an unprecedented map of the Milky Way’s hydrogen atoms. The map is the result of ten years of work that included more than a million observations and the collection of billions of individual data points, stitched together in order to show both hemispheres of the night sky. The researchers also had to filter out human-made distortions such as “noise” caused by mobile phones and broadcast stations. “The final map reflects hydrogen gas traveling at different velocities in relation to Earth, with purple/blue representing approaching atoms and green/orange representing receding. Corresponding brightness indicates concentration.”
Scientists hope this map will give them a better idea of the evolution of the Milky Way galaxy from pure hydrogen gas to stars. Furthermore, as the universe is comprised of mainly hydrogen, it is hoped this study allows for a greater understanding of the nature of the universe.