Panoramic View of the Milky Way


Panoramic view of the Milky Way.  Cool!  A photo of our Milky Way? our galaxy??  Well….not quite.  It’s tempting to see this photo as having been taken from outside the Milky Way.  Of course that would be amazing!  …but it would be a false impression.  It is actually a photo from the inside looking out!  Interesting illusion, ya? This photo is made from many still photos over a period of one year and represents a 360° view of the night sky.    Imagine this photo stretched out and placed in a circle around your head so that as you turned you could see the night sky as it would appear around the earth (ignoring for a moment the sun).

The age of the photo – 1940 – should be of no concern….. in cosmic terms it is but a fleeting instant. Should the same be taken today with similar photographic equipment there would be no measurable difference in appearance.