Very cool, but wouldn’t it be better if you could find one big enough to actually read? :)
Joe to the rescue! Check out a hi-res version here (Tatooine is in the bottom middle in case anyone cares). Of course, what good is a map without an index? Got ya covered there, too: Coordinates of all the places you’ll be looking for.
Here’s a thought experiment for you: Is the Star Wars galaxy oddly small or does it have an unusually high density of habitable, life-harboring planets? This may or may not relate to an upcoming episode of the YouTube show.
What The Night Sky Will Look Like Over the Next 7 Billion Years
Here’s a little-known fact: If our eyes were sensitive enough, the Andromeda galaxy would be wider than the Moon in the night sky.
Another little-known fact: That same Andromeda galaxy, the Milky Way’s closest neighbor, is on a collision course with our spiral home. Starting in 3.5 billion years or so, our galaxies will smack into each other. Galaxies are mostly empty space, so it won’t be as catastrophic as you might imagine, but it will certainly change the organization of the stars.
This video is what the night sky may look like as Andromeda gets closer, since none of us will be around to see it. Also, be sure to check out this timeline of the far future.
Illustrations by Moonrunner
Moonrunner is primarily known for its science-based illustrations, especially in such fields as astro-physics, cosmology, dark energy, black holes, the solar system and such stellar phenomena as quasars, star nurseries and pulsars. We have worked with Stephen Hawking, as well as with the scientist/authors of the National Geographic and Scientific American magazines, and also those publishing with Dorling Kindersley, Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Weldon Owen.
Click on the images to see what they represent.
That’s what I call some serious astro-illustration. Be sure to click on the photos above to check out the explanations in the slide show.
Rogue Solar Systems … Loners in a Cold Universe (and Probably Impossible?)
If we were galaxy-less, if the Milky Way was not our home, things would essentially be the same here on Earth. Of course, we would miss that streak across our night sky that the Milky Way provides for us. Our solar system is kept pretty well “insulated” by the solar wind that emanates from our sun. This wind creates something called the heliosphere.
The result of this is that almost every bit of matter filling the solar system, besides the planets and moons and other orbiting objects, comes from the Sun. The force of all those solar particles pushing out creates a bubble of safety that protects us from the interstellar medium. Voyager 1 is currently at the edge of this bubble, about to enter the unknown gauntlet of interstellar space.
A better question is whether a rogue solar system could even exist in the first place. The Milky Way began at least 13.2 billion years ago, as a blob of density after the big bang began to collapse and compress into the rotating spiral shape we know today. But our solar system is thought to only be about 4.5 billion years old, when it grew out of a similar spinning disk of debris. The very center of this disk became the Sun, and the outer bits became the planets.
It stands to reason that to get a solar system, complete with planets, you need a galaxy first. To my knowledge, there are no rogue solar systems, only rogue planets and …
Rogue stars! We have detected stars that appear to be hurtling through space, free from a galaxy to call home. The thing is, they are traveling over 2 million miles per hour. This is because they USED to be in the center of our galaxy, but were whipped out like a slingshot due to the intense gravity surrounding our central black hole.
The amount of gravity that it would take to send a star careening out of the center of the Milky Way at two million miles per hour would most likely have a negative effect on any planets it once possessed. Meaning it would destroy them. Which is not good.
This video comes from the folks at Skysurvey.org. Zoom from the edge of the Milky Way toward the center of our galaxy, passing constellations along the way. Near the end, we break through the dusty clouds of gas and debris and see an image of gas as it gets sucked toward the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy’s bulged middle.
Not a bad trip for a Monday night, eh?
This is roughly the view of our neighbouring brightest galaxies if you were 20 million light years away from ‘home’ (red dot). A closer view reveals the closest neighbours as well. In a very small distance there are two galaxies surrounding the Milky Way, the Large and the Small Mangelanic Clouds.
I created this 3D map with Mathematica.
Data collected from atlasoftheuniverse.
Howdy neighbors! Well, stellar neighbors, anyway.
Love to see this kind of creation from our Tumblr friends, by the way. Not that I don’t have love for the whole internet, but fellow Tumblr Science folks are sort of like the Magellanic Clouds of our blogging Milky Way. Just that much better than the rest of the galaxies.