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Multiwavelength Milky Way: Maps of the Sky

mosaic image of portions of separate Milky Way images

Topics in this section
Lesson plans available on-line from other sources

Online images

Other Sections:
The Nature of Light
Our Galaxy - The Milky Way

360 degree picture
world globe world map
A 3-D globe and a 2-D flat map.

The images you'll see represent a full 360° band of sky. Since no detector can view 360° all at once (like trying to take a picture of everything around you in one snapshot), the Milky Way images are pieced together from many smaller regions of the sky.

The analog to what you see in the images, is a map of the earth. You can either have a three dimensional spinning globe, or you can have a two-dimensional map.

The Milky Way images are two-dimensional maps of the central band of the Milky Way galaxy.

The following lesson plans will give you an idea of how visible and invisible light is gathered by telescopes and detectors, and how data is transformed into the images that you see. Learning how to use sky maps is also covered.

I. Making an Image
   A. Telescopes and detectors - how they gather light
   (see also topic III on the Nature of Light page).
   B. Reconstructing the Image
   C. False colors - how colors are used to "see" an invisible image

II. Using the Multiwavelength maps

III. Map projections

Lesson plans available on-line from other sources:
1. From Eyes on the Sky, Feet on the Ground:
   2-6 grade. "Maps and Mapping" -
   Lessons on understanding and reading maps of the Earth and Sky.

2. From Imagine the Universe:
   6-10 grade. "Get The Picture!" -
   Lesson on constructing and analyzing images from digital satellite data.

3. From the CERES Project:
   5-8 grade. "Digital Images: From Satellites to the Internet" -
   Lessons on how information and pictures are transferred from satellites to the Earth via the Internet.

4. From NASAs Spacelink:
   5-8 grade. "Space Based Astronomy" -
   Teacher activity guide which includes lessons on the Earth's filtering atmosphere,
   the electromagnetic spectrum, detecting electromagnetic radiation, and transmitting data back to Earth. Guide in PDF form.

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