Milky Way is a wonder and you’ve got about a week for best viewing
The center of our Milky Way galaxy is located some 26,000 light years away in the constellation of Sagittarius.
That is very far, even on a galactic scale.
Our galaxy is shaped like a large distorted pinwheel, with upwards of 200 billion stars! Our planet and its surrounding solar system are very small on this massive playing field.
On the other hand, the density of stars that appear at the galactic center would boggle the mind, as every square degree of the sky would be filled with stars.
What lies at the exact center of the Milky Way?
Astronomers tell us that there is a super massive black hole, located at the center of this celestial whirlpool.
One of the most complicated and dynamic objects in the universe is the black hole, a place in time and space in which all light and electromagnetic energy is sucked into a tiny point of mass.
So, what do we know about this so-called super massive black hole, known as Sagittarius A?
Strong radio signals were picked up by the late scientist Karl Jansky in 1932 when he turned his crude radio telescope antennae toward the galactic center.
The suspected super massive black hole is surrounded by some 12 stars, and this may be a source of the rapid brightening of Sagittarius A.
The region surrounding a black hole is one of the most amazing locations in the universe, as powerful forces are testing the limits of modern physics and cosmology.
Here is what the Milky Way Galaxy looks like.
Here is a video tour of the Milky Way Galaxy.
To capture the best views of the central region of the Milky Way, we have an amazing opportunity to view it during the next few weeks, as long as the monsoon does not hamper the view!
Look to the south around 10 p.m. Arizona time as the moon will not be bright in the sky during the period from July 30 to Aug. 8. The farther you are away from city lights and as free from the summer monsoon, you will have a great opportunity to scan the many star clouds of the Milky Way.
There is so much to see in this region of the Milky Way, that I feel you will be most impressed with the naked eye view alone.
That experience will only get better, as you use a pair or binoculars or a small telescope.
The best of luck in viewing the fine details of our galaxy, the Milky Way, thought to be just one of at least 200 billion galaxies, in a universe that is thought to have expanded from a tiny point of mass some 13.8 billion years ago.
To print your own monthly star chart, click here.
To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.
Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.
Podcasts can be found here.