Look to the right of Jupiter and you'll see what looks like a cloud. It's actually the center of the Milky Way galaxy.


This month we'll step away from city lights and gaze up at our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Hello I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

You can easily spot the moon and the planets from your own backyard, but it takes a dark sky to see the spiral arms of our own galaxy.

One of the main features of spiral galaxies are its spiral arms and dark lanes of dust and gas which line the edges of the spiral arms.

Just to the right of Jupiter you'll see what looks like a cloud, but it's really a cloud of stars, and it's the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. We live two-thirds of the way from the center.

When you look at the spiral arm of the galaxy you'll notice a dark area bisecting the stars. And that dark area is called the great rift of our Milky Way galaxy.
What it is is dark obscuring dust that's blocking the starlight.

You don't need a telescope to see the Milky Way but if you do look through a telescope you'll see clumps of stars, star clusters and nebula in much more detail, although with your own eyes you'll be able to see some of the features of the Milky Way galaxy such as some of the brighter clusters and gas clouds.

That's all for this month, I'm Jane Houston Jones.

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