Herschel's galactic model, 1784

Herschel's galactic model, 1784

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Herschel's galactic model, 1784. This is one of several visualisations drawn by the German-born British astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822). Working with his sister, Caroline, Herschel plotted the position of many of the Milky Way's stars, and used this data to construct models of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from the outside. The crosses represent stars, while the letters refer to specific stars and constellations. The model is not particularly accurate, but does show the central band of stars that is the central plane of our galaxy. A version of this model was published in Account of Some Observations Tending to Investigate the Construction of the Heavens (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, volume 74, 1784).

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