Scientists Are Building the Ultimate Milky Way Map. Here's What They Have So Far

Peruse strange starquake sightings, cosmic DNA secrets, all of our solar system's asteroids and so much more.

Beyond the realm of mind-blowing spaceflight, groundbreaking satellites and stunning moon landings, the European Space Agency is focused on one crucial quest. It's simply to "create the most accurate and complete multidimensional map of the Milky Way." 

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The ambitious endeavor is called Gaia, and for the last several years, ESA has been steadily making progress on the dream. Scientists who're part of the collaboration have collected tons of spectacular data about the more than 1 billion stars throughout our galaxy, recording every juicy detail along the way.

And on Monday, the team reached a massive checkpoint for the project. 

Lucky for us, it also released some remarkable visuals, which encompass the treasure box of cosmic secrets gathered so far. This particular milestone is formally referred to as Gaia data release 3, and importantly, it's one that ESA says is the "most detailed Milky Way survey to date."

In this dataset, not only can you see thousands of solar system objects, like asteroids, moons and other celestial marvels within our galaxy, but you can also peruse millions of galaxies and phenomena outside the Milky Way.


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