Have you ever hiked the
Garden trail in Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA, planet Earth?
Walking along that path in this dark night skyscape,
you can almost imagine your journey continues along the pale,
luminous Milky Way.
Of course, the
name for our galaxy, the
(in Latin, Via Lactea), does refer to its appearance
as a milky band or path in the sky.
In fact, the word galaxy itself derives from the Greek for milk.
Visible on moonless nights from
dark sky areas,
though not so bright or quite so colorful as in this image,
the glowing celestial band
is due to the collective light of myriad stars along the
plane of our galaxy, too faint to be distinguished individually.
The diffuse starlight is cut by dark swaths of
obscuring galactic dust clouds.
Four hundred years ago, Galileo turned his
telescope on the Milky Way and announced it to be
a congeries of innumerable stars ..."