Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture (not APOD, afaik)
Posted on 11/18/2011 11:33:40 AM PST by LibWhacker
Too beautiful not to post.
What you're looking at is a close-up shot up of the central bulge of a giant spiral galaxy viewed edge on. Can you see it? The bulge, that is? It's that glowing lens-shaped mass that's trying unsuccessfully to hide behind those dark foreground clouds.
Yes, of course, it's the central bulge of our own Milky Way Galaxy! :-)
We're looking at the "lens" edge-on from our vantage point here in the Orion Spur (a minor spiral arm) of the Milky Way, 30,000 light years from the galaxy's center. Some "close-up," huh? We see the central bulge edge-on because, of course, the Sun and planets and we ourselves are all embedded in the disk of the Milky Way Galaxy.
A lot of folks envy people five billion years from now who will have a front row seat to the collision of the Andromeda and the Milky Way Galaxies. How spectacular that will be, what with the giant spiral face of the Andromeda Galaxy drawing noticeably nearer every few million years or so and filling up the whole nighttime sky. But I rather like the view now. It's absolutely magnificient. (And yet, it's just one tiny, teeny, almost insignificant, stroke of our Creator's brush!)
Must have been a foggy day when this was taken.
I think “edge on” is a bit of a misnomer...considering that Earth is well within the outer edge of the Milky Way. Stupendous photo nevertheless. It gives one pause and forces a contemplation of just how mind-bogglingly huge is the cosmos.
Ack! Alright... I’ll go grab it and put it in Shutterfly. Just a sec, pls...
Total Perspective Vortex.
A true HHGTTG aficionado.
You wanna see a ‘BULGE’ pal?????????? I got your BULGE!
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