It was a clear Moonless sky, perfect for me to get out of town and snap a few images of our Milky Way Galaxy, which Sky and Telescope has chosen one for their online readers photo section, which is cool. Traveled for about 30 minutes, far from the city lights to a little back country road. So I pull off the main road onto a dirt road that disappeared about 20 yards in, thought this will do, got out of the car and set up my equipment. The Milky Way was a sight, beyond description. As I was taking pictures cars coming up to my spot would slow down thinking I was a cop, once they found out I wasn't they honked their horns, I thought this can't be good, gonna make some people a little upset, Hey whatta gonna do.
I was thinking to myself as I was admiring the utter magnificence of our home galaxy, the people driving by don't know and don't care what's going on, traveling to and fro, while the cosmos is just above them. Whenever I look at the stars I think there is so much we don't understand, example, did you know that we still haven't mapped the entire Milky Way yet, they are saying that there are still areas of the Milky Way that if where on a map would have to say, "There be dragons here". Well when you think about it, it's like trying to map a forest when you're in the midst of it, hard to do.
Some fun facts about our Milky Way.
All the stars we see in the night sky are from our Milky Way, somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-400 billion of them.
Our Milky Way is around 100,000 light years in diameter and 16,000 light years thick.
Dust and non-luminous matter is the reason for the dark rifts in the above images, which block the starlight from the stars behind it from reaching us.
Our Sun orbits the center of the galaxy, which by the way takes 200 million years.
Since it's birth, the Sun has orbited the center of our Milky Way only 20 times.
Our Milky Way Galaxy was formed around 13 billion years ago, the result of a large collapsing ball of gas and dust.
The Milky Way is part of a local group of galaxies of which Andromeda is a part of.
The Andromeda Galaxy is moving towards us at a speed of 1,800 km per minute, impact in 3 billion years, not to worry, the Sun will have fried us by then, not to worry, we will attain Class III civilization by then if we don't destroy ourselves first and will have started to populate other planets in the galaxy, but first we have to get to Mars, which I have already bought property on, being the forward thinker I am.
I'll leave you now with an animated gif of one of my Milky Way images.