Milky Way

The Milky Way is the visible concentration of stars, star clusters, bright gas clouds, and dark dust lanes that lie along the plane of our galaxy in the sky. The settings in this view control how the Milky Way is displayed in the main sky chart.

Milky Way Display

Show Milky Way: Turns the Milky Way off or on. When turned off, the Milky Way is not drawn, and most of the other settings in this section are disabled.

as Framed Outline: shows the Milky Way's boundaries as a thin outline.

as Filled Area: shows the Milky Way region filled with a solid gray color.

as Realistic Image: shows a digital all-sky panorama of the Milky Way in visible light, provided by Axel Mellinger.

as Hydrogen Alpha Image: shows the sky in Hydrogen Alpha light, with an image produced by Doug Finkbeiner. This full-sky H-alpha map is a composite of the Virginia Tech Spectral line Survey (VTSS) in the north and the Southern H-Alpha Sky Survey Atlas (SHASSA) in the south. The view shows the distribution of glowing ionized hydrogen gas clouds in our galaxy's star-forming regions.

as 2MASS Infrared Image: shows the sky at near-infrared wavelengths, using data from the 2-micron all-sky survey.

as WISE Infrared Image: shows the sky in mid-infrared wavelengths, using data from NASA's WISE (Wide-Field Infrared Explorer) satellite. The colors in this image represent specific wavelengths of infrared light. Cyan (blue-green) represents light emitted predominantly from stars and galaxies at a wavelength of 3.4 microns. Green and red represent light mostly emitted by dust at 12 and 22 microns, respectively.

as IRAS Infrared Image: shows the sky at a far-infrared wavelength of 100 microns, using data from the IRAS (Infrared Astronomy Satellite) and COBE (Cosmic background Explorer) spacecraft. Galactic dust clouds are visible at these wavelengths.

as Planck Microwave Image: shows the distribution of cosmic microwave background radiation, as measured by the Planck satellite. Constructed from observations of the sky at wavelengths spanning 850 microns to 1 cm (353 GHz to 30 GHz).

as 408 MHz Radio Image: shows the sky observed at a frequency of 408 MHz by the Haslam radio survey. The Haslam 408 MHz map is derived from 4 separate surveys.

as 1420 MHz (21 cm) Radio Image: shows the sky observed at a frequency of 1420 MHz or a wavelength of 21 cm (the frequency of HI, neutral hydrogen) by the LAB (Leiden/Argentine/Bonn) radio survey.

as ROSAT X-Ray Image: shows the sky at soft X-ray wavelengths, as observed by the ROSAT satellite. The maps cover approximately 98% of the sky in the 1/4 keV, 3/4 keV, and 1.5 keV bands. In this 3-color image, red is 0.1 - 0.4 keV, green is 0.5 - 0.9 keV, and blue is 0.9 - 2.0 keV.

as Fermi Gamma-Ray Image: shows the sky at gamma rays frequencies, as observed by the Fermi spacecraft. This view shows how the sky appears at energies greater than 1 billion electron volts (GeV) according to five years of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. For comparison, the energy of visible light is between 2 and 3 electron volts.

Please Note: The options to show the Milky Way in Hydrogen Alpha thru Gamma Ray wavelengths are only available in SkySafari Pro.

Milky Way Intensity

Intensity: Sets the brightness level of the Milky Way when shown as a filled area or realistic image.

Fade in Small Fields: When turned on, the Milky Way's intensity will fade to zero as the field of view decreases from 10 to 1 degrees wide. It is often not useful to show the Milky Way in very small fields of view.