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Primetime views of Milky Way

Andrew Fazekas, astronomer
September 8, 2012 — Away from the city glow on any clear, moonless September night the ghostly glow stretching across the night sky called the Milky Way is offering its best views.

The Milky Way is a collection of stars, clouds of gas and dust we call a galaxy and is home to about 100 billion suns. This frisbee shaped island of stars stretches some 100,000 light years across and is about 1,000 light years thick is only one of over 100 billion other galaxies that are thought to inhabit the Universe.

The hazy band visible from dark skies is one of our galaxy’s spiral arms and contains millions of stars -- however because of their large distances we can only see their combined light.

At this time of the year the Milky Way glows from the north horizon to south horizon and crosses many constellations from Cassiopeia low in the north, through Cygnus overhead and straight down to Sagittarius in the south. This is where you’ll find the heart of our galaxy 30,000 light years away. Sweeping this region with binoculars and you’ll discover scatterings of all types of interesting clusters and nebulas.

For more stargazing news visit

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