Astronomy Live: Mapping the Milky Way in 3D

Part of Astronomy Live

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

A depiction of the Milky Way galaxy, with billions of stars bright against a deep black sky, and a brilliant white cluster at its center. © NASA
Surrounding us in our corner of the Milky Way are newly born stars and their natal ingredients, gas and dust. 

In this program, leading researchers including the Museum’s Jackie Faherty, senior scientist in the Department of Astrophysics, and Brian Abbott, assistant director of the Hayden Planetarium, give a tour of our local solar neighborhood using OpenSpace visualization software. They will be joined by Alyssa Goodman, who is the Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy at Harvard University, and astrophysicist Catherine Zucker from the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  

Using OpenSpace visualization software, we will look at the Sun’s position and motion through and around nearby gas clouds, supernova bubbles, and star forming areas, on a journey revealing the structures and dynamics shaping our galactic neighborhood and visualized for the first time in the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater. 

This program utilizes OpenSpace software supported by NASA under award No NNX16AB93A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.