Mapping the Galaxy's Dust in 3D: Results and Prospects for the Future
Eddie Schlafly



The Milky Way's dust is of basic importance in astronomy. It is both crucial to the formation of stars and a pervasive observational nuisance. Despite the dust's importance, existing dust maps are largely limited to two dimensions, with the distance to the dust unknown. The advent of large surveys like Pan-STARRS1 has allowed us to map dust in three dimensions in unprecedented detail. In this talk, I will describe how we use observations of stars in the Milky Way to map dust, and I will discuss three major results: a catalog of distances to major molecular clouds, the discovery of a 100 pc ring of dust in Orion, and the 3D dust map itself. Upcoming surveys promise continued scientific returns: Gaia, DECam, and the LSST will provide more precise and deeper data than ever before, enabling unique maps of the Galaxy's spiral structure and the study of the Galaxy's rotation curve and ISM velocity field in 3D.