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Q&A: Milky Way Galaxy

Q:
How can you take a picture of our Galaxy if we are in it?

A:

Illustration of The Milky Way
Since our solar system is embedded within our Galaxy, we can only show an artist's representation of what our Galaxy looks like from the outside, rather than show a true astronomical image, as produced by a telescope. From our vantage point in the plane of the Galaxy we only have an edge-on view of the Milky Way, but this view is still very useful, especially when combining information from different types of astronomical observations. Some observations are good for tracing the spiral arms of our Galaxy, while others are better for detecting the stars and still others are good for tracing the gas and dust. A picture of the Milky Way, as seen from the outside, can then be made by piecing together the information from these different observations.

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