What is the best way to see the Milky Way?
My advice for the best view of the Milky Way - go to the southern hemisphere. There the central parts of the Milky Way can be directly overhead, and it can really look like a galaxy. So if you are planning a trip down there any time soon find some time in your schedule to go to a dark site well away from any city lights. It's worth the trip - and as a bonus you can also see the Magellanic clouds (the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way).
If you're stuck in the northern hemisphere where we see mostly the outer parts of the Milky Way (the center always stays very close to the horizon) you need to find a really dark site, and it also needs to be quite clear. Even small amounts of clouds through which you can see many bright stars will hide the Milky Way. Also make sure that your eyes are well dark adjusted (stay outside in the dark for a while).
You can use something like Heaven's Above to figure out what time to best see the Milky Way. In the Northern hemisphere it runs through Cygnus, Cassiopia, and the centre is in Sagittarius.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- Which hemisphere has the best view of the Milky Way?
- How can we see the Milky Way if we are inside it?
- Is Andromeda part of the Milky Way? Where can I find them in the sky?
- Can any galaxies be seen with the naked eye?
- What is the farthest Northern Latitude in which the Magellanic Clouds can be seen?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 39351 times since November 6, 2006.
Last modified: November 6, 2006 11:27:50 AM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)