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Advances in Galactic Cartography

By Dr. Robert A. Benjamin

Astronomy Spring Colloquia 2010 Tuesday, 4:30pm-5:30pm, Peyton Hall auditorium:

The Milky Way Galaxy is one of the few galaxies, and the only edge-on spiral galaxy that can be resolved in detail. But it has been a decades-long slog to try to determine its structure and ascertain how it would look to an outside observer. Although great progress has been made in understanding the Galactic bar and central molecular zone in the last few decades, a reliable understanding of the spiral structure has eluded us for a long time.  For several reasons, that is about to change. I review these advances in Galactic cartography, with an emphasis on mapping of the Galactic stellar  disk and bar with a standard  candle using data from GLIMPSE, 2MASS, and UKIDSS.