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Milky Way

History, Structure Of The Milky Way, Formation Of The Milky Way, Nucleus Of The Milky Way

On a clear, moonless night, away from the bright lights of the city, the Milky Way is visible—a fuzzy, milky band stretching across the sky. The Milky Way is the plane of our galaxy, a vast spinning carousel of a few hundred billion stars. Our solar system is located about half way between the center and the edge of this 120,000-light-year diameter pancake shaped galactic disk. The "visible" Milky Way is simply the light from billions of faint stars blending into a fuzzy band across the sky.

In the northern hemisphere summer, the Milky Way passes through the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius in the south and heads north through Aquila and Cygnus. In winter, the Milky Way slips between the hunting dogs, Canis Major and Minor, over the head of Orion the hunter, and through the feet of Gemini, the twins. In spring and summer, the Milky Way passes through the constellations Cassiopeia and Perseus.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Methane to Molecular clock