Milky Way from Earthback back

How big is the Milky Way Galaxy?

The Milky Way Galaxy is our home in the existing Univers, it is a barred spiral galaxy 100,000‐120,000 light-years in diameter containing 200‐400 billion stars and at least as many planets including our solar system. The galactic center is named Sagittarius A and its belived to hold a supermassive black hole with an estimated mass of 4.1‐4.5 million times the mass of our Sun.

The name comes from its appearance as a dim glowing milky band arching across the night sky. The term Milky Way is a translation from Latin via lactea and Greek milky circle as seen from inside.

Milky Way facts

  • How old is the Milky Way Galaxy?

    Milky Way Galaxy is approximately 13.7 billion years old, almost as the Universe itself. The age is determined by taking the age of the stars in the Milky Way.

  • Stars in the Milky Way Galaxy

    The Milky Way contains at least 100 billion stars and may have up to 400 billion stars. The exact number is not known.

  • Milky Way Galaxy from Earth

    Earth, along with the Solar System, is situated in the Milky Way galaxy, orbiting about 28,000 light years from the center of the galaxy.

How to see the Milky Wayback back

Can you see the Milky Way Galaxy from Earth at night with the naked eye?

Yes, in fact, the Milky Way Galaxy is one of the most interesting naked eye sights in the night sky. However, it’s not bright, and it’s not always well placed to be seen. So to see the Milky Way Galaxy from Earth, you will have to meet the following minimum requirements:
‐ Finding a dark clear night sky with no moonlight are the key words here for a best view of the Milky Way in the grand design (you can get an app that will show you the Moon Phases Calendar);
‐ No city lights, no headlights, basically as far as you can from any source of light pollution. You will need to travel far from any city, to a wild area or rural countryside. The best viewing site would be from the middle of the ocean either northern hemisphere or southern hemisphere being so far away from the artificial city lights.
‐ No telescopes, no binoculars, (just eyeglasses if you’re near sighted) and at least one eyeball. TIP: Using binoculars can increase the view experience being able to see other galaxies as Andromeda Galaxy (M31), nebulae and event comets.
‐ Best atmospheric conditions, a misty sky wouldn’t block it completely, nor would humidity. It would make it not as sharp, but still visible.
‐ Give your eyes at least 15-20 minutes to adapt to the darkness though. Your eyes will become more sensitive to low light level.
‐ A little bit of timing in late summer or winter evenings in Northern Hemisphere.

We live in the Milky Way Galaxy, this means that every time we gaze at the night sky we are looking at the Milky Way Galaxy. More exactly the spiral arm closer to the galactic center one part of the year and in the other part we see the near edge of the spiral arm farther from the galactic center. Due to nebula and dust clouds, we can’t see the center of the Milky Way (in visible light) at any time.

What can i see in the Milky Way Galaxy from Earth?

  • The summer Milky Way will look brighter in the Northern Hemisphere. Most noticeably you should be able to see the Great Rift in good dark skies. This dark lane in the Milky Way Galaxy between Cygnus and Scutum is where a string of dense interstellar clouds block the view of more distant stars. At longer wavelengths in the infrared, light passes through these clouds more easily and we get a better view of the overall shape of our Galaxy, but there are still enough clouds created a dark reddened lane through the middle of the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • The two Magellanic Clouds irregular dwarf galaxies are visible from the Southern Hemisphere which may be orbiting our Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Milky Way Northern Hemisphere

    Date Time
    Oct 14 8 PM
    Sep 29 9 PM
    Sep 14 10 PM
    Aug 30 11 PM
    Aug 15 12 AM
    Jul 31 1 AM
    Jul 16 2 AM
    Date Time
    Feb 10 8 PM
    Jan 25 9 PM
    Jan 10 10 PM
    Dec 26 11 PM
    Dec 12 12 AM
    Nov 26 1 AM
    Nov 11 2 AM
  • Milky Way Southern Hemisphere

    Date Time
    Apr 8 8 PM
    Mar 24 9 PM
    Mar 9 10 PM
    Feb 21 11 PM
    Feb 5 12 AM
    Jan 22 1 AM
    Jan 7 2 AM
    Date Time
    Aug 28 8 PM
    Aug 12 9 PM
    Jul 28 10 PM
    Jul 12 11 PM
    Jun 27 12 AM
    Jun 13 1 AM
    May 29 2 AM

Milky Way picturesback back

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