The chart uses the ages of more than 70,000 stars and extends halfway across our galaxy to 50,000 light-years away.

Researchers mapped the galaxy by observing red giants, bright stars in the final stages of their lives that can be observed out to large distances from our Sun, into the very inner and outer reaches of the Milky Way.
   
Researchers started with spectra taken from one of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)'s component surveys, the Apache Point Observatory Galaxy Evolution Experiment (APOGEE).
   
The ages of stars cannot be measured with APOGEE spectra alone, but the APOGEE team realised that light curves from the Kepler satellite, a NASA space mission whose main goal is to find planets around stars, could provide the missing link between APOGEE spectra and stellar ages.
   
APOGEE therefore observed thousands of red giants that had also been seen by Kepler. After combining information from the APOGEE spectra and Kepler lightcurves, the researchers could then apply their methods to measure ages for all 70,000 red giant stars sampling all parts of the galaxy.

 

 

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The chart uses the ages of more than 70,000 stars and extends halfway across our galaxy to 50,000 light-years away.

Researchers mapped the galaxy by observing red giants, bright stars in the final stages of their lives that can be observed out to large distances from our Sun, into the very inner and outer reaches of the Milky Way.
    
Researchers started with spectra taken from one of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)'s component surveys, the Apache Point Observatory Galaxy Evolution Experiment (APOGEE).
    
The ages of stars cannot be measured with APOGEE spectra alone, but the APOGEE team realised that light curves from the Kepler satellite, a NASA space mission whose main goal is to find planets around stars, could provide the missing link between APOGEE spectra and stellar ages.
    
APOGEE therefore observed thousands of red giants that had also been seen by Kepler. After combining information from the APOGEE spectra and Kepler lightcurves, the researchers could then apply their methods to measu