Physics Photo of the Week
November 11, 2005
Edge-on Galaxy NGC 981
This distant galaxy is rather
"unusual" in that it happens to be oriented edge-wise to our
sight from our own Milky Way. Notice the dark line
the plane of the disk. This dark strip is dust that
the stars in the plane of the galaxy and obscures the
the billions of stars that exist in this galaxy. New
constantly forming in this dust plane as density waves
Our own Milky Way galaxy is a similar structure to this
disk. The sun and planets are located about 1/3 the
the center to the edge in the plane of the disk. When
we see the
Milky Way band across the sky on summer and fall nights away
annoying city lights, we are looking through the disk of our
galaxy. The dust lane in the Milky Way prevents us
our galaxy center (in the constellation Sagittarius).
that we see with our naked eyes in the night sky are located
"small" sphere, much smaller than the diameter or thickness
galaxy, but several hundred light years across. See
below. All the stars in the foreground of the photo
within our own galaxy, relatively close to us compared to
the size of
Negative image of Galaxy
This image was photographed by Don Collins and the Astronomy
Warren Wilson College at the weekly viewing Thursday, Nov.
consists of a stack of 17 20 second exposures with a Meade
camera and a Celestron Ultima 2000 8-inch telescope.
telescope was donated by Bernard Arghiere of Asheville, NC.
Physics Photo of
published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by
Wilson College Physics
Department. These photos feature an
interesting phenomena in
the world around us. Students, faculty, and others
are invited to
submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and
explanation. Atmospheric phenomena are especially
Please send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
to see all Physics Photo of the Week for 2005
see all Physics Photo of the Week for 2004.