Learn about the Milky Way, what is is, and understand more our galaxy.
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Veronica: A mysterious stigmatic concerning a super massive black hole and feeding off in its small neighbor is the Milky Way is truly a heavy weight in our part of universe. Hi, I am Veronica of the Watchmojo.com. Today we are at the planetarium with Louie Bernstein to find out more about the Milky Way, so can you tell us about the Milky Way? Louie Bernstein: Sure, Milky Way is our galaxy and it's an island of stars like all galaxies. It contains the necessary ingredients for star formation and the formation of the planets and life. It has all of those heavy elements. Stars are born in the -- in galaxies. As that process happens, stars also develop planets and orbit around them. In galaxies, you find all the heavier elements that make up life with carbon, and calcium, and iron and oxygen and so on and so forth. Outside of galaxies, what you find mostly is only hydrogen and helium. As there is not really enough raw material out there on which to base life, so really our milky way is a space where life evolved. Veronica: How can we find the Milky Way in the sky? Louie Bernstein: Well, summer is a great time for seeing a Milky Way because it really rises in the south and there is overhead practically and then this appears down below the northern horizon, so it really looks like a band of light, a blowing band of light that stretches across the sky. Veronica: What are some popular myths that have developed? Louie Bernstein: Well, you can imagine long ago, people didn't have a clue what the Milky Way was, they didn't know what the stars are. They thought that they have a lot to do with spirits and with gods and departed souls; it was where people went when they died. For example, the Egyptians believed the Milky Way was the road of -- some cultures thought that it was the backbone of the night and it supported the night sky. The Greeks actually gave us the name for the Milky Way and they believed that it was the milk of the Goddess Hera spread across the sky. Veronica: How science helped us better understand the Milky Way? Louie Bernstein: Modern technology allows us to really dwell deeply into the structure and evolution of galaxies. By looking at distant galaxies, we can see how they evolve, how they interact. The farther away you look, the farther back in time you can see. We can see galaxies in various stages of their evolution. We can apply all of that to our galaxy and we know that it evolved shortly after the Big Bang that our galaxies are about 13 billion years old that it probably underwent a merger with another galaxy about 12 billion years ago. There was a super massive black hole that weighs the equivalent of 4 million suns at the heart of our galaxy. We also recently learned that 80% of our galaxy is made of a brand new kind of matter called dark matter that no one even knew existed a few decades ago. Veronica: What's the most interesting fact about the Milky Way? Louie Bernstein: I think that life evolved at it, that it's really part of the universe. There is nothing special about the Milky Way. The ingredients we find in Milky Way and the processes that it undergoes are the same for all galaxies. Out of all of the natural resources of the ancient universe, life evolved. Today, human consciousness allows us to look back and ponder our origins and also where we're going, our destiny, so I think that's probably the most amazing thing.