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Astronomers measure Milky Way with radio waves

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 file photo, Omaha photographer Lane Hickenbottom photographs the night sky in a pasture near Callaway, Neb. With no moon in the sky, the Milky Way was visible to the naked eye. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle via AP)

A collection of radio telescopes that spans thousands of miles and is remotely operated from central New Mexico has measured a span of 66,000 light-years (one light-year is equal to 6 trillion miles) from Earth across the Milky Way's center to a star-forming area near the edge of the other side of the galaxy.

The Albuquerque Journal reports astronomers say they hope to measure additional points around the galaxy to produce a map — the first of its kind — over the next decade.

Alberto Sanna of Germany's Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy said in a news release that using the Very Long Baseline Array, which is remotely operated near Socorro, allows astronomers to "accurately map the whole extent of our galaxy."

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