Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Milky Way in Stars and Dust

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#80603 by @ 05.10.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
The Milky Way in Stars and Dust

The disk of our Milky Way Galaxy is home to hot nebulae, cold dust, and billions of stars.

This disk can be seen from a dark location on Earth as a
band of diffuse light
across the sky.

This band crosses the sky in dramatic fashion in the
above series of wide angle sky exposures from

The deepness of the exposures also brings to light a vast network of complex
dust filaments.

Dust is so plentiful that it obscures our
Galaxy's center in visible light,
hiding its true direction until
discovered by other means early last century.

The Galactic Center, though, is
visible above as the thickest part of the disk.

The diffuse glow comes from billions of older, fainter stars like
our Sun,
which are typically much older than the dust or any of the nebulae.

One particularly photogenic area of darkness is the
Pipe Nebula visible above the Galactic Center.

Dark dust is not the
dark matter than dominates our Galaxy -- that
dark matter remains in a form
yet unknown.

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