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milky way southern hemisphere mapA new map of the Milky Way has been released, giving astronomers a detailed look at the cold, dense gas floating throughout our galaxy from which stars are born.

The APEX telescope in Chile recently completed a map called ATLASGAL (The APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy) by using previously collected data from the Southern Hemisphere of the Galactic Plane, where a majority of the Milky Way's mass lies.

"We can for the first time get a full census of the star-forming regions within our own galaxy," European Southern Observatory scientist Carlos De Breuck told CNN. "This allows us to find all such regions and to study their properties, such as the size of the gas clumps from which stars are formed."

It's the first image of its kind to be captured at the submillimeter wavelengths between infrared light and radio waves. And the image is much larger and better detailed than its first version, mapping a more complete picture of the Milky Way's dust and gases. Read more on edition.cnn.