This Map Shows Just How Little We Know About Our Own Galaxy

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So, you think you know the Milky Way? Well you don't. This new Milky Way map from NASA displays the exo-planets we've discovered so far, counting the newly confirmed exoplanet 13,000 light years away from Earth, catchily-named OGLE-2014-BLG-0124L. It's about half as far away as the farthest exoplanet ever found, one of only a few handful to be discovered beyond Kepler's range.


Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech.




The majority of exoplanets that have been discovered were the work of the Kepler, but the very furthest ones that have been found — like this recent one — owe their discovery to microlensing methods. Like gravitational lensing, where gravity bends space and light to generate a natural "zoom lens" that lets us see further afield, microlensing also makes use of certainly occurring bends in space. In microlensing, however, that enlargement procedure is triggered by a fainter star passing in front of a more distant star, making the space around the distant star more easily observable.
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