It turns out our Milky Way galaxy is truly warped, at least around the far edges.
The team had published the of their work in the Nature Astronomy, saying that their map will be "crucial" in further studies of the kinematics and archaeology of our galaxy. These huge, bright stars, which are up to 20 times bigger and 100,000 times brighter than the sun, produce pulsating light that was used as a sort of cosmic yardstick to pinpoint the stars' locations - and thus determine the overall shape of the galaxy.
The billions of star and galactic bodies that make up a galaxy rotate around its center, making a complete orbit once every few hundred million years, according to Eureka Alert.More news: Lagonda All-Terrain Concept primed for Geneva
But the pull of gravity becomes weaker far away from the Milky Way's inner regions.
"It is notoriously hard to determine distances from the Sun to parts of the Milky Way's outer gas disc without having a clear idea of what that disc actually looks like", study lead author Chen Xiaodian from the research team of Chinese Academy of Sciences explained.
"However, we recently published a new catalogue of well-behaved variable stars known as classical Cepheids, for which distances as accurate as 3 to 5 per cent can be determined". However, their massive size and brightness aren't without flaw, indicating that they live fast lives and end them pretty young, as they use all the gas as fuel.More news: Amazon invests in self-driving vehicle startup Aurora
Astronomers have observed a dozen other galaxies which showed similar progressively twisted spiral patterns in their outer regions.
They show day- to month-long pulsations, which are observed as changes in their brightness.
"We usually think of spiral galaxies as being quite flat, like Andromeda which you can easily see through a telescope", said Professor Richard de Grijs from Macquarie University in Australia.More news: HP's 'Copper' VR headset will boast extra-sharp displays
"We concluded that the Milky Way's warped spiral pattern is most likely caused by "torques" - or rotational forcing - by the massive inner disk", says Liu Chao, senior researcher and co-author of the paper.