• Two ways: The distance and direction of each star can be plotted on a three dimensional computer map - rather like google earth is, and this rotated and printed out at any angle. Or, it could be an artist's impression of what it would look like. It's very easy to tell the difference: On the real map, we can't see stars beyond the core of the galaxy because of the dust, so the images made from the real data have a black slice missing. It's about thirty degrees of the circle missing. If that slice isn't missing in your picture, it's just a painting.
  • If they are not artistic impressions or computer simulations, but actual pictures, then its most likely that it was a picture of another spiral galaxy (Andromeda, for example) being passed off as the Milky Way... heh.
  • i suppose they can collate some satalite photos and fill in the gaps with what could be correct? interesting question!
  • They were not actual pictures, at least not of the Milky Way. We cannot even be 100% sure that the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. We just deduce that because our neighbors are spirals.
  • The earth is positioned near the edge of our galaxy. If you look up at the stars on a cloudless night well away from light pollution (and with no moon) you will see the galaxy: a dense band of stars going from horizon to horizon, including the whitish cloudy matter which is millions of far away stars merged together and which gives the Milky Way its name. Of course because the earth is round you can't see it all at once. In fact you get to see more of the galaxy if you live in the southern hemisphere (due to the angle of the earth's axis in relation to the galaxy which is a disc shape - we're pretty much looking at it edge on). Pictures of the milky way can be made by merging multiple photos.
  • I suspect most of these images are extrapulated, and compiled from many different images, some of different , (hopefully similar) galaxies. Of course, they could just be feeding us a bunch of phooey.
  • Do you mean pictures like this one ( These are artist ideas about what our galaxy looks like. As others have stated it is impossible to get actual photos of the Milky Way because none of our space probes have gone nearly far enough to get such pictures. I am not sure how long it will take the first probe to get our far enough, but it will probably be on the order of millions of years, at least. Then it would take thousands of years for it's signal to get back to us. (This is of course assuming that the probe would still be operational after all that time and that we could actually distinguish its signal from the background radiation.) So, no, what you have seen are not actual photographs of the entire Milky Way.
  • Ive been going deeper int this topic for a few days now and are still looking for some answers but here's my opinion. Most (if not all) images of the galaxy and universe for that matter is artistic impressions. There are no way to get images like that from a telescope, even if the scope is a few kilometers above the earth. It is no great advantage in comparison to the light years the photographed content is away. If you take a critical look at the NASA site you will find animators and graphic artists all over the place...Yet I cant say that i have the answer, Its just my opinion. Whenever I have more intel on this subject I might just be able to give a true answer
  • Those are not real images, just artist,s rendition of what it might look like based on detials seen in other galaxies.
  • We have a good idea of what is around us. Scientists have been using several large arrays of radio telliscopes around the world. With this info, we draw pictures. LOL
  • maybe from a rocketship

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