Fig12_3 Edge on Milky Way

Fig12_3 Edge on Milky Way

Fig. 12.3 . As shown in 1918 by the American astronomer Harlow Shapley (1885-1972), the globular star clusters are distributed in a roughly spherical system whose center coincides with the core of our Milky Way. The Sun is located in the disk, about 27,700 light-years away from the center. The disk and central bulge are shown edge-on in a negative print of an infrared image taken from the InfraRed Astronomical Satellite. The infrared observations can penetrate the obscuring veil of interstellar dust that hides the distant Milky Way from observation at optically visible wavelengths. It is this dust that limited astronomerís view of stars to a much smaller Kapteyn Universe, centered on the Sun.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University