What Part of the Milky Way Do We See?

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Show Notes: Found In Space - Episode: What Part of the Milky Way Do We See?


  • Podcast: Found In Space - Science Podcast for Kids and Teens
  • Episode Title: Navigating the Milky Way: Our Galactic Address
  • Host: Arwen
  • Release Date: August 23, 2023

Episode Summary: Host Arwen delves into a listener's question about the Milky Way's appearance in the night sky, explaining how the galaxy's structure and Earth's orbit contribute to what we observe. She introduces the concept of constellations and discusses the Milky Way's position in different seasons.

1. Isaac's Inquiry:

  • Listener's question: Is the Milky Way we see in the night sky part of the spiral arm we're in or another spiral arm? Does it have a name?

2. Galactic Overview:

  • Analogy comparing galaxies to cities: Stars as buildings, creating a vast structure held together by gravity.
  • Introduction to the Milky Way's spiral structure with arms and other components.
  • Explanation of the Milky Way's classification as a spiral galaxy.

3. Milky Way's Spiral Arms and Constellations:

  • Naming of the Milky Way after its appearance in the night sky resembling spilled milk.
  • Description of the Milky Way's central disk and the arms spiraling out from it.
  • Introduction to the Perseus arm and the Scutum Centaurus arm as the main arms.
  • Explanation of constellations and their naming from Greek and Roman mythology.
  • Circumpolar constellations (e.g., Big Dipper) visible throughout the year.

4. Earth's Orbit, Seasons, and Milky Way Views:

  • Relating the Earth's orbit to its rotation, creating day and night cycles.
  • Mention of Earth's axial tilt leading to the changing of seasons.
  • Connection between Earth's position in orbit and the visibility of constellations.
  • Explanation of Milky Way visibility changes in different seasons.
  • Highlighting the Milky Way's appearance in August and September, facing the center of the galaxy (Sagittarius) for more Milky Way visibility.
  • Description of how in six months, during winter in the Northern Hemisphere, we face away from the galaxy's center (Perseus arm), resulting in a narrower view of the Milky Way.

Closing Remarks:

  • Expressing gratitude to Isaac for the engaging question and exploration of galaxy concepts.
  • Encouragement for listeners to send in questions for future podcast episodes.
  • Farewell message, wishing listeners clear skies and continued curiosity.

Stay Curious!