The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, but because of our location within it there are many aspects of its basic structure which we know little about. For example, how many spiral arms does our Galaxy have? The spiral arms mark the locations where young, high-mass stars are forming and Interstellar masers are one of the best signposts of these regions. The masers are strong and compact and can be observed at very high resolution at radio wavelengths through very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). This project involves using the University of Tasmania telescopes as part of the Australian VLBI array to accurately measure the distance to a number of maser sources using trignometric parallax. Astrometric measurements for the majority of the Galaxy can only be made from the southern hemisphere and the observations made as part of this project will complement data taken for the outer Galaxy and first quadrant by northern telescopes.
|Contact:||Dr Simon Ellingsen
Authorised by the Dean of Graduate Research
27 February, 2013