• Venus and Jupiter were the stars of the sky. Now all eyes turn to the Milky Way.
  • Mark Lovewell

Milky Way, Billions of Stars

The summer night sky is filled with sparkling, shining and barely visible colorful stars. In just a short time staring up at the heavens, an observer can travel through the Milky Way to far beyond.

Every star you see in the sky is a member of our Milky Way, that gigantic galaxy we call home. Some are as close as a couple of light years away. Others are hundreds and thousands of light years away.

With the moon residing in our morning sky during the coming week, the nights ahead offer a wondrous opportunity to look deep into the night sky as the brilliance of the moon will not interfere. The Milky Way, that faint cloud of billions of stars, is visible now in the eastern sky a few hours after sunset. The wide ribbon of stars starts on the horizon almost due north and extends high in the eastern sky. The ribbon continues farther south, almost due south, and fills the zodiacal constellation Sagittarius.

The bright stars high in the east belong to a group of constellations that reside in the Milky Way. They are Cygnus the swan, Lyra the harp and Aquila the bird. Looking to the south there is the constellation Sagittarius, which astronomers discovered is the center of the Milky Way.

The billions of stars in the Milky Way are not evenly distributed or evenly lit. There is dark matter obscuring parts of the Milky Way from our view, which astronomers have for centuries called coal sacks. These areas are in contrast to the brighter clouds of many stars. Thus between the brightest stars and the darkest parts, the Milky Way has texture, like a piece of fabric lying in the sunshine.



 

Sunrise and Sunset
DaySunriseSunset
Fri., July 105:168:17
Sat., July 115:168:16
Sun., July 125:178:16
Mon., July 135:188:15
Tues., July 145:198:15
Wed., July 155:198:14
Thurs., July 165:208:14
Fri., July 175:218:13

Temperatures and Precipitation
DayMax (Fº)Min (Fº)Inches
July 380620.05
July 47658T
July 572540.00
July 680620.00
July 784650.00
July 882700.00
July 983650.04

 

Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 73º F

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