The "Milky Way"
our galactic neighborhood
This is our galaxy, the "Milky Way", viewed from above.
The Milky Way is
a large spiral
galaxy containing roughly 100 billion stars disposed in the form of a
disk, with several
spiral arms coiling around a central bulge.
The diameter of the disk is about 100,000 light years and the Sun is located about 30,000
light years from the Milky Way’s nucleus on the
arm, at the center of the little red grid.
This grid delimits a square area of about 1,500x1,500 light years, magnified in the map below.
This is the galactic environment within 1500 light years from Sol, rich of
Note the "Dumbbell nebula" on the top left, Polaris on the bottom left, the
Pleiades and Betelgeuse below the central red grid, Rigel (Beta Orionis)
on the bottom right, Hadar (Beta Centauri) on the top right, Antares above the
central red grid.
The red grid is a square area of about 400x400 light years, magnified in the map below,
with our Sun at the center.
This image represents the
Many stars on this map are present also in the simulated galaxy of Frontier.
Our solar system is located in an unusual region of space called the "Local Bubble"
because the ISM (InterStellar Medium) in this
area is much less dense than the ISM surrounding it.
Scientists believe that this bubble may have been created by a supernova explosion.
The key to the maps above.
These pictures are based on the images of the galaxy taken from these excellent sites:
- An Atlas Of The Universe (by R. Powell)
- 3-D Mapping of the Local Interstellar Medium