Viewed from within, the structure of our own Milky Way galaxy is harder to appreciate. Interstellar dust also makes it difficult to measure distances between stars in our galaxy with optical astronomy. Using radio astronomy, we mapped the Milky Way in unprecedented detail. This approach helps constrain its size and orientation, as well as the rate of star formation within our galaxy. Xu Ye et al. mapped the nearest spiral arm of the Milky Way in unprecedented detail.
The abundant structures of the Local arm imply that the Milky Way may be not similar to the galaxy, M51, but the galaxy NGC 1232
See Sci. Adv. 10.1126.sciadv.1600878 (2016).