The new map helps solve a 150-year-old mystery: why, when astronomers connected the dots between the nearby stellar nurseries, they appeared to form a single 3,000-light-year-wide ring, known as Gould’s Belt, located (conveniently) with our sun near its center. Some suggested it was an expanding shockwave from an ancient dark matter collision, but no consensus emerged. Nevertheless, the concept of Gould’s Belt became essential in explaining where stars were born in our corner of the Milky Way. “All of our understanding of star formation and stellar nurseries in our part of the galaxy is informed by this model,” says Harvard astronomer Catherine Zucker, who co-authored the new work. But the classic model was mistaken, Zucker and her colleagues have learned. The ring shape was just an illusion.