Astronomers measure Milky Way using radio waves

This long-exposure photograph taken on April 23, 2015, on Earth Day shows Lyrids meteors shower passing near the Milky Way in the clear night sky of Thanlyin, nearly 14 miles away from Yangon. 

Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- 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."