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Astro Bob

Why The Milky Way Looks Cockeyed In The Sky

28 Jul 2019, 19:27 UTC
Why The Milky Way Looks Cockeyed In The Sky
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Wide angle view of the Milky Way photographed late on July 26. The band stretches from Perseus in the northeastern sky (upper left) to Sagittarius in the south (lower right). The ripples at upper left are caused by natural airglow. Bob King
A reader asked a great question the other day about whether the Andromeda Galaxy is north of the band of the Milky Way or south. Remember that when we look at the band, we’re looking directly into the plane of the galaxy, neither above nor below. From mid-northern latitudes the galaxy appears high in the sky well north of the sun’s highest point in the sky. So you might guess it’s also north of the Milky Way, too. But it isn’t. It’s below the plane, south of the Milky Way band.
The Milky Way intersects the ecliptic — the path of the planets and plane of the solar system — at a steep angle because our solar system is tipped on its side relative to the plane of the galaxy. Stellarium
Have you ever noticed on a summer night that the Milky Way slices across the sky at a steep angle from Cassiopeia in the northeastern sky to ...

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