Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

Can we make a movie of the Milky Way galaxy's rotation?

With all of the pictures that have been obtained so far of this barred spiral galaxy we live in, is it possible to string together a video to show its rotation and movement compared to other galaxies? This would probably be a great illustration, helping people to understand our "place" in the Universe!

Motions on galactic scales take an incredibly long time, especially compared to the human lifetime. Moreover, the amount of time that our technology has allowed us to record images like this is incredibly small compared to the entire history of the Milky Way.

For instance, it takes the sun (and our solar system along with it) about 200 million years to go around the galaxy. Your idea is a nice one, and it would be great if we could "show" astronomy to people in this way, but the time scales involved just aren't conducive to that.

September 2007, Ann Martin (more by Ann Martin) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about The Milky Way: Previous | Next

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 19972 times since September 12, 2007.
Last modified: September 12, 2007 2:23:52 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
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)