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What Would The Milky Way Look Like If You Could See All Of Its Light?

1 Apr 2019, 14:01 UTC
What Would The Milky Way Look Like If You Could See All Of Its Light? ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org)
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Even from our location, there’s a great lesson to be learned: the galactic plane obscures the Universe beyond it, about 10 degrees above and below it, in visible light, as shown here. If you want to see what lies beyond our galaxy — or any dusty galaxy — just look in the infrared, and watch the Universe open up to you. (ESO/B.TAFRESHI)The visible light portion of the spectrum is tiny compared to the whole thing. Here’s what we’re missing.When you look at the Milky Way in visible light, you might see billions of stars, but you miss so much more.Multiwavelength images of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Quite clearly, different wavelengths reveal various details that are unseen in visible light alone. (PLANCK MISSION TEAM / NASA / ESA)The human eye is only sensitive to a tiny fraction of the entire electromagnetic (light) spectrum.The transmittance or opacity of the electromagnetic spectrum through the atmosphere. Note all the absorption features in gamma rays, X-rays, and the infrared, which is why they are best viewed from space. Over many wavelengths, such as in the radio, the ground is just as good, while others are simply impossible. Even though the atmosphere is mostly transparent to ...

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