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Naked-Eye Observing - The Milky Way

All of the stars in the night sky are residents of a galaxy - the Milky Way. We are also residents of this galaxy. The Earth orbits the Sun, and the Sun orbits the center of our galaxy. Because of our position, we can see some of the galaxy as a band stretching across the sky.

To view the band of the Milky Way, travel to dark skies - away from city lights - is required. When you see this for the first time, the feeling is unforgettable. The larger bulge on the left side of the image is the center of our galaxy.

More information on the Milky Way is available in the Our Galaxy section.

The image above is an all-sky image taken from the Southern Hemisphere. An image like this is possible with the use of a fish-eye lens on a 35mm camera body (or CCD camera). The object near the top of the image is a comet. The lights on the right side of the image are from a distant town.

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