The Milky Way - The Night Sky Atlas

The Night Sky Atlas logo image

The Milky Way is our edge-on view of the galaxy which holds our solar system. It is a very large collection of many kinds of astronomical objects, many are known, others still elude scientists. The diameter of the galaxy has been estimated to be close to 100,000 light years across. Our solar system is located about 27,000 light years away from the galactic center, it is one of over an estimated two hundred billion stars in the Milky Way.

View towards the galactic center in Sagittarius
Visible in February before dawn, to October after dusk, best in June.

View towards Cygnus in the northern celestial hemisphere
Visible in April before dawn, to December after dusk, best in August.

View opposite the galactic center towards Auriga is the thinnest region
Visible in August before dawn, to April after dusk, best in December.

View towards Vela in the southern celestial hemisphere
Visible in October before dawn, to June after dusk, best in February.

The night sky atlas creates images of any part of the night sky, allowing easy location of any object. Detailed chart images show all stars visible to the naked eye, the constellations, Messier objects, and names of the brightest stars. Data sources: Bright Star Catalog from the Astronomical Data Center, star names list from Steven Gibson, all-sky Milky Way image by Axel Mellinger. The data used in this product, in whole or in part, is used with permission of The NGC/IC Project LLC. Many thanks go to those who maintain and make available their astronomy datasets without which this sky atlas would not have been possible. Permission for any use of these chart images is granted, provided that the original website address remains visible on all images. Enjoy!