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Figuring out what the Milky Way looks like is akin to a murder mystery


Scientist

Figuring out what the Milky Way looks like is akin to a murder mystery

How can we get a picture of the whole Milky Way if we are inside it? Good sleuthing is needed to combine all the clues, writes Chanda Prescod-Weinstein Space | Comment 29 January 2020 By Chanda Prescod-Weinstein B.A.E. Inc./AlamyALL of the students in my astrophysics class last semester had to give a final presentation. In…

Figuring out what the Milky Way looks like is akin to a murder mystery

How can we get a picture of the whole Milky Way if we are inside it? Good sleuthing is needed to combine all the clues, writes Chanda Prescod-Weinstein



Space


| Comment

29 January 2020

By Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

A man gazes at the Milky Way

B.A.E. Inc./Alamy

ALL of the students in my astrophysics class last semester had to give a final presentation. In one, a student showed everyone an image of our galaxy, the Milky Way, as viewed from Earth. The student then showed another image of a spiral galaxy, suggesting that it reflected our own. Because it was a class focused on stars – the students are taking on galaxies this semester – a question came from the audience: how can we get a picture of the whole Milky Way if we are inside it? We can’t.

In this sense, astrophysics is like a Midsomer …

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