Exploring the Milky Way

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Ever since Galileo first turned a telescope to the sky in 1609, astronomers had known that the Milky Way was made of stars, but they were unsure how to reconcile these distant and apparently crowded stars with the brighter stars that we can pick out with the naked eye.

By the start of the 20th Century, however, enough strands of evidence had come together to show that the band of the Milky Way is just an edge-on view of the distant stars that make up our home Galaxy. The discovery of millions of other galaxies spread throughout space also helped astronomers to gain a perspective on our own.

So how should we understand our own galaxy today? Is it like or unlike the other galaxies in the universe? How might we find out more in the near future?

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This event was on Fri, 20 Oct 1995


Professor Heather Couper

Professor of Astronomy

Heather Couper was the Gresham Professor of Astronomy between 1993 and 1996.

After studying Astrophysics at Oxford University, Professor Couper ran the Greenwich Planetarium, and...

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