04 November 2010
Posted in Crosby Observatory
Before the invention of telescopes, viewing stars was a difficult task because they blurred together in a white streak formation across the sky. An ancient Greek myth states that this white streak was coined ‘Via Galactica’ or “road made of milk” and is how our galaxy came to be known as the Milky Way.
Our solar system, along with hundreds of billions of stars, clouds of dust and gases lie throughout our Milky Way Galaxy. Imagine the galaxy like a pancake being stretched, with a huge bulge forming in the center. From there, huge groups of stars and dust particles fan out from the center, generating a spiral of curving, coiled and patterned arms.
Sometimes parts of the Milky Way can be viewed with the naked eye. On very clear, dark nights it appears as a band of milky starlight stretching across the sky. So the next time you look up at the night sky, you will know that the Milky Way is so much more than a candy bar!