Matrix Software Home
Your Shopping Cart  |          
Matrix Software Home
Blue*Star Pro
Web Service
Win*Star V6.0
NEW Sirius 2.0
NEW Kepler 8.0
Report Pro.
Win*Star Express
NEW Pegasus
KNOW Series
Tarot Personal
Report Personal
Reportes Espaņol
Starter Pack
Report Writers
Jupiter Report
Time Together
Solar Return
Lunar Return
Midpoint Keys
Make Money
Home Business
Pro Package
Home Business

FREE E-Books
Single Reports
Personal Readings
Natal Report
Child Report
Just for Women
Solar Return
Past Lives
Solar Arc
Free Oracle
The Matrix Oracle
Natal Astrology
Fortune Cookie
Electric Almanac
Yes/No Oracle
Word Oracle
Press to view all ^
Astrology Blogs
Ask Astrology
Astro Dialogues
Find an Astrologer
Astro Links
Book Reviews
Celebrity Search
Astro*Talk Bulletin
Free Stuff
Fun Things to Do
NEW Sky Reader
Celebrity Search
Free Desktops
Learn Astrology
Astro Links
Monthly Planets
Today's Chart
Registered User
Matrix Customers
Quick Fixes

On Sale Now
Matrix Software List
Cosmic Patterns Software List

Matrix Astrology Software

  Beginning Astrology                  
  Your Sun Sign                           
  Astrology Articles                     
  Astrology Book Reviews          
  Astro Outline                             
  Visual Astrology                      
    Astrophysical Directions
  Astrology Organizations           

Matrix Software > Learng Astrology > Astrophysical Directions > The Galaxy > Galaxy

Learn Astrology

Back to The Galaxy   |   Back to Astrophysical Direction 


Our Sun and the Local System of stars are part of a much larger disc-shaped collection of many billions of stars, gas, and dust that are bound together by mutual gravitational attraction to a vast flattened system that turns like a great pinwheel in space. A simplified sketch of our galaxy is presented above. There is a dense bright central region or nucleus and spiral arms extend from the nucleus outward into space to form a flat disk. These arms become increasingly thin until they are imperceptible. Our Earth and the solar system is embedded within the great disk that is our galaxy, and from our vantage point within this disk (and toward the edge of the great wheel), the plane of the galaxy appears as a great glowing arch in the night sky -- the Milky Way. All stars that we can see with the naked eye and almost all stellar material that is visible to our telescopes is concentrated within this galactic disk or plane, as it is called. The immense mass of stars and light has been known to man since time began through many names: River of Heaven, River of Light, Silver Street, Winter Street, Shining Wheel and The Ashen Path.

Our Local Galaxy

Galactic Coordinates

Figures A, B, and C below illustrate the general features of the Galaxy. Our Sun is located very much toward the edge or rim of the galactic disk, rather than toward the center. Keep in mind that we are embedded deep within the plane of the galaxy and that there are countless stars above and below us as well as toward the center and rim of the galactic disk. However, by far the greatest concentration of light and stellar matter appears to us in the direction of the Galactic Center and Anti-Center, as we look through or along the actual plane of the galaxy. If we look (from the Earth) in the direction of the North or South Pole of the Galaxy, we are not peering through the countless stars concentrated in the disk, but rather through a relatively thin sheet of stars between us and the intergalactic void beyond.

Galactic Equator or Rim

Because we are situated so far out on the galactic disc, there is also a great difference in what we see when we look toward the Center as opposed to the Anti-Center of our galaxy. There is much less material between us and the rim or edge of the galactic plane than there is toward the galactic center. When we gaze toward the galactic center (GC), we receive the combined light from all the stars between us and that center as well as the light stemming from the stars in the galactic disc beyond the center. In fact, as we look into the GC, we receive light (at once) that has been travelling to reach us for very different periods of time.

Galactic Rotation (clockwise)

Keep in mind that although it takes some 9 minutes for light to reach us from the Sun, it takes a period of around four years for us to receive light from even the nearest of stars. When we consider what we see as we gaze toward the GC, it becomes difficult to comprehend. We are looking at starlight that may have been travelling to reach us for 50-70,000 years! In other words we are looking at stars as they were a long, long time ago. We are looking into the past at the universe then. Who knows if these stars even exist now and, if so, what kind of light they give off today. We will not know for another 50,000 years of so. The stars in the anti-center direction are not so distant from us and we have a more up-to-date idea of how the galaxy is when we look in this direction.

Copyright (c) 1997-99 Michael Erlewine

Home  |  Software  |  Learn Astrology  |  Free Stuff  |  Privacy Policy  |  Security   |  About Us   |  Contact Us   |  Site Map  |  F.A.Q.

Matrix SoftwareMatrix Software License Agreement