The Star Clouds of Sagittarius
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The Star Clouds of Sagittarius
Top left is NE. Image width is about 5 degrees
Image and text © 1985-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory
Photograph from UK Schmidt plates by David Malin.

Orbiting round the centre of our Galaxy are found huge numbers of stars which are mostly faint, cool and often billions of years old. They are as ancient as the Galaxy itself. These stars are seen with the unaided eye as the hazy star clouds of the southern Milky Way, especially bright in Sagittarius. Our line of sight in this direction is strongly affected by dust, which reveals itself by both dimming the starlight passing through it and by selectively removing the blue light, changing the apparent colour to a deeper yellow. Though the colour change is only seen in photographs such as this, the dustiness of the Milky Way is obvious to the unaided eye as the dark patches which seem to divide the Milky Way into two parts along its length. Near the centre of the picture is a region known as Baade's Window after the astronomer who selected this part of the Milky Way for special study.

Related images
AAT 22.  Barnard 86 and NGC 6520
AAT 28.  Wide angle view towards the Galactic centre
AAT 92.  Barnard 86 and NGC 6520, wide angle view
AAT 93.  Baade's Window, around NGC 6522
UKS 21. NGC 6522, gamma Sagittarii and Baade's Window
Constellation of Sagittarius (external site)

For details of object position and photographic exposure, search technical table by UKS reference number.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, July 25