ASTR 1230 (O'Connell) Lecture Notes

Our Galaxy from the Inside

Milky Way

The panoramic image above is a drawing constructed from photographs by Knut Lundmark at the Lund Observatory in Sweden. It maps the appearance of the entire sky (360 degrees) in Galactic coordinates, in which the plane of our Galaxy defines the equator. The picture is centered on the direction to the Galactic center. The dark lanes or "rifts" are obscuration caused by dust clouds lying in the plane.

You can identify a number of familiar features in the picture once you get your bearings.

Compare the Lund drawing with this modern, color mosaic photograph which is presented in the same format.

All of the above views are (obviously) from the Earth's perspective. For a different perspective, click here for a view (5000 light years wide) of the Sun's location in the Galaxy together with identifications for a number of bright stars and other features. This is part of the Richard Powell Atlas of the Universe, a pictorial "zoomout" from the Solar System.

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Last modified September 2015 by rwo

Panoramic Milky Way image from Lund Observatory. Northern Milky Way photo by J. Lodriguss. Text copyright © 2000-2015 Robert W. O'Connell. All rights reserved. These notes are intended for the private, noncommercial use of students enrolled in Astronomy 1230 at the University of Virginia.