Mapping spiral structure on the far side of the Milky Way

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Science  13 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6360, pp. 227-230
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan5452

Measuring the far side of the Galaxy

Direct measurements of distances to astronomical sources rely on parallax, which can usually only be measured for relatively nearby objects. The far side of the Milky Way has been impossible to measure accurately, because the parallax is very small and interstellar dust blocks optical light from those regions. Sanna et al. used radio interferometry to directly determine the parallax distance to a star-forming region on the far side of the Galaxy. They also used a method of inferring distances from transverse motions, which produced the same answer. This allowed them to trace one of the Milky Way's spiral arms through almost an entire rotation.

Science, this issue p. 227