A three-dimensional map of the Milky Way using classical Cepheid variable stars

The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy, with physical properties inferred from various tracers informed by the extrapolation of structures seen in other galaxies. However, the distances of these tracers are measured indirectly and are model-dependent. We constructed a map of the Milky Way in three-dimensions based on the positions and distances of thousands of classical Cepheid variable stars. This map shows the structure of our Galaxy's young stellar population, and allows us to constrain the warped shape of the Milky Way's disk. A simple model of star formation in the spiral arms reproduces the observed distribution of Cepheids.

The Warsaw Telescope and Galactic Cepheids from OGLE (K. Ulaczyk / J. Skowron / OGLE)

Paper describing our results appeared in Science: Dorota M. Skowron, Jan Skowron, Przemek Mroz, Andrzej Udalski, Pawel Pietrukowicz, Igor Soszynski, Michal K. Szymanski, Radoslaw Poleski, Szymon Kozlowski, Krzysztof Ulaczyk, Krzysztof Rybicki, Patryk Iwanek, 2019, Science, 365, 478.

Abstract of the article in Science

Full text of the article in Science

arXiv:1806.10653 (arXiv version).

Additional Multimedia Pack

Any comments about the data and the form of their presentation are welcome. Send your messages to this adress.


Back to top of page