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EarthSky Tonight

Every star you see within Milky Way

17 Aug 2011, 07:01 UTC
Every star you see within Milky Way
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

If you look in a dark country sky, you'll easily spot the starlit band of the Milky Way. And, assuming you're looking from the northern hemisphere, you'll notice that it appears broader and richer in the southern part of the sky, in the direction of the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius.

Every individual star that can be seen with the eye, in all parts of the sky, lies within the confines of our Milky Way galaxy.
The galaxy is estimated to be some 100,000 light-years wide and only about 1,000 light-years thick. That’s why the starlit band of the Milky Way, which is visible in the evening this month, appears so well defined in our sky. Gazing into it, we’re really looking edgewise into the thin plane of our own galaxy.
The band of the Milky Way is tough to see unless you’re far from the artificial lights of the city and unless you’re looking on a night when the moon is down, as it is in early evening tonight.
If you do look in a dark country sky, you’ll easily spot the Milky Way. And, assuming you’re looking from the northern hemisphere, you’ll notice that it gets ...

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