Multiwavelength Milky Way

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© NASA.

Astronomers and astrophysicists use many tools to gain information about the structure and properties of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. This diagram shows radiation emitted by objects in the Milky Way from very long wavelength, low-energy radiation (top) to very short wavelength, high-energy radiation (bottom). Atomic hydrogen is observed using the spin-flip 21 cm radiation discussed in the text, giving the map of hydrogen in the galaxy that appears second from the top. All of the images show our galaxy "edge on" as we are within the galaxy itself, and have, as yet, no way to collect data giving other perspectives or viewpoints. These are easily obtained for faraway galaxies, as many of these are similar to our own, and are observed in random orientations with respect to ours. (Unit: 6)