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Date:  17/10/2020


Name:  Milky Way   @   Watson's Way

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System.  Its name "milky" is derived from its appearance as a dim glowing band arching across the night sky whose individual stars cannot be distinguished by the naked eye.  From Earth the Milky Way appears as a band because its disk-shaped structure is viewed from within.   Galileo Galilei first resolved the band of light into individual stars with his telescope in 1610. Until the early 1920s most astronomers thought that the Milky Way contained all the stars in the Universe. Following the 1920 Great Debate between the astronomers Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, observations by Edwin Hubble showed that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies now known to number in the billions

The zodiacal light (also called false dawn when seen before sunrise) is a faint, diffuse, and roughly triangular white glow that is visible in the night sky and appears to extend from the Sun's direction and along the zodiac, straddling the ecliptic. Sunlight scattered by interplanetary dust causes this phenomenon. Zodiacal light is best seen during twilight after sunset in spring and before sunrise in autumn, when the zodiac is at a steep angle to the horizon. However, the glow is so faint that moonlight and/or light pollution outshine it, rendering it invisible.

The brightness of zodiacal light decreases with distance from the Sun. In naturally dark night skies, the glow is visible as a band along the entire zodiac, completely straddling the ecliptic. In fact, zodiacal light spans the entire sky and largely contributes to the total natural light in a clear and moonless night sky. Another phenomenon a faint but slightly brighter oval glow directly opposite of the Sun is the gegenschein, which is caused by backscattered sunlight.


Location:  Watson's Way

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