SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration showing Thomas Wright's explanation of the Milky Way, from his book An Original Theory of the Universe, published in London in 1750. Wright (1711-86) gave the first correct explanation of the appearance of the Milky Way as being due to our immersion in a layer of stars. An observer at A would see few stars when looking towards B or C, more when looking towards E, F or G and many stars when looking along the plane towards H. Wright proposed that the Sun is one of many stars orbiting around a Divine Centre and that the stars are distributed either in thin, concentric, spherical shells or in annuli, like the rings of Saturn.
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