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It wasn't until telescopes that people realized that the band of light reaching across the sky, called the Milky Way since ancient times, was actually made of an immense number of stars. Astronomers still did not really understand what they were seeing until the 20th century, however.

Until the 1920s, astronomers thought that what we now know to be our Milky Way Galaxy to be the entire universe, and that our whole universe was a few thousand light years across. Other "spiral nebulae" had been observed, but they were thought to be new star systems forming nearby. After Hubble (the astronomer, not the telescope named for him) observed Cepheid variable stars in the Great Nebula in Andromeda, he realized that the Andromeda "Nebula" was immensley distant, and ennormous in size, and, by extension, the other "spiral nebulae" were also huge and incomprehensibly distant. He called them "island universes", and realized that we were also in one, and that the 'Milky Way' band of stars across the sky was our galaxy's disk, seen from inside. So, even though people have been calling the band of light across the sky the Milky Way for thousands of years, it wasn't until the 1920's that we understood what it was--our galaxy!

We can see only a small part of our galaxy in visible light. Since the 1960s, radio astronomers have mapped out the structure of the entire galaxy, and shown it to be a large spiral galaxy of about 100 billion stars; we are in one of the spiral arms about 8 kiloparsecs (25,000 light years) from the center of our galaxy, more or less halfway from the center to the edge.

I think Gallileo came across the milky way in the 1600's. The cloudy band we now call the Milky Way has been known since ancient times (it's referenced in various cultural mythologies, for example). However, it was only in the past few centuries that it was properly identified as a galaxy, specifically our own.

== == The Milky Way's true age hasn't been discovered. The only knowledge we have is of a meteorite which dates 4.7 billion years ago. And yes, Galileo discovered the odd colors of the Milky Way in the 1600's. If we could escape our galaxy, scientists believe it would look like M-31(The Great Galaxy of Andromeda)
I would hesitate to talk about a "discovery" of something that is in plain sight - that people have been seeing for ... well, for as long as there have been people. Like the Sun, or the Moon, or trees, or animals - or the Milky Way.

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Q: When was the Milky Way galaxy discovered?
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Related questions

How discovered the Milky Way and where did they live?

In another Galaxy


Is the milky way galaxy the biggest galaxy discovered?

No. Although the Milky Way is a relatively large galaxy it is nowhere near the largest known. Galaxies dozens of times the size and hundreds of times the mass of the Milky Way have been observed.


What scientist discovered the Milky Way galaxy?

Gallileo Galilei A+


What is the galaxy Milky Way called?

The Milky Way galaxy is.... called the Milky Way Galaxy


What galaxy is called the Milky Way?

The Milky Way galaxy is.... called the Milky Way Galaxy


What is the galaxy of milky way?

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When was it discovered that the milky way is not the only galaxy in the universe?

Around 1922.


How many chocolate bars are named after planets?

Mars Galaxy Milky Way


Which galaxy does the earth inhabit?

Our galaxy is called the "Milky Way".Our galaxy is called the "Milky Way".Our galaxy is called the "Milky Way".Our galaxy is called the "Milky Way".


Our solar system is in what galaxy?

Our galaxy is called the Milky Way.Our galaxy is called the Milky Way.Our galaxy is called the Milky Way.Our galaxy is called the Milky Way.


Milky Way is in what galaxy?

The milky way IS a galaxy. Its the galaxy that WE'RE in.


The Milky Way is an example of a n?

The Milky way is a galaxy. A spiral galaxy, to be more precise.The Milky way is a galaxy. A spiral galaxy, to be more precise.The Milky way is a galaxy. A spiral galaxy, to be more precise.The Milky way is a galaxy. A spiral galaxy, to be more precise.


What galaxy does the milky way have?

The Milky Way IS a galaxy


Can you live on the milky way galaxy?

We live IN the milky way galaxy...There isn't a such thing as living ON the milky way galaxy....


Are the Milky Way and galaxy together?

The Milky Way IS a galaxy, our home galaxy.


What galaxy is closest to the center of the milky way galaxy?

The Milky Way Galaxy!!


Is the Milky Way Galaxy an Elliptical galaxy?

No. The Milky Way is believed to be a barred spiral galaxy.


What galaxy do we live in?

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Does galaxy the same as Milky Way?

the milky way is our galaxy


Is the Milky way a galaxy cluster?

No, the Milky Way is a galaxy


Where is the Milky Way located on our galaxy?

"Our" galaxy is the Milky Way.


How was the Galaxy discovered?

The Milky Way Galaxy was made by the Big Bang, but it was discovered by a Greek Astronomer called Democritus. It was discovered with the naked eye because they didn't have much technology then.


How was galaxy discovered?

The Milky Way Galaxy was made by the Big Bang, but it was discovered by a Greek Astronomer called Democritus. It was discovered with the naked eye because they didn't have much technology then.


How many glaxies are in the milky way?

the milky way is a galaxy, there are billions of stars in the milky way galaxy


What number of open clusters have been discovered in the Milky Way?

More than 1,100 open clusters have been discovered within the Milky Way Galaxy and many more are thought to exist.