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Edgewise view into our Milky Way

Our sun orbits the center of the Milky Way galaxy, which is 100 thousand light-years wide and contains 100 billion stars. Looking into the Milky Way …

View larger. | Every star we see with the unaided eye belongs to our Milky Way galaxy.  Photo taken this week - July 22, 2015 - around 3 a.m. by Aaron Robinson.

View larger. | Every star we see with the unaided eye belongs to our Milky Way galaxy. Photo taken this week – June 22 – around 3 a.m. by Aaron Robinson.

Beginning around this time of year, we can look up in the late evening sky to see edgewise into the flat plane of our Milky Way galaxy. That’s the part of the galaxy containing our sun, and most of the galaxy’s stars. Aaron Robinson captured this evocative view of the Milky Way on June 22, 2015 in the hours after midnight.

This view of just a small portion of our galaxy – just a few of its hundred billion stars – seems especially relevant in light of our story this week on what’s known as the Fermi paradox. That is, all scientific arguments suggest that alien civilizations should be common in the galaxy. So where is everybody?

Bottom line: Evocative view of the Milky Way taken June 22, 2015. The time for viewing the Milky Way in late evening and post-midnight is here!

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Deborah Byrd

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