Science: Exploring the Milky Way

Even small telescopes give good views of external galaxies, many of which look like pinwheels spinning in space. But when astronomers try to look at the "home" galaxy of which the solar system is a part, all they see is a scattering of stars and the hazy streak of the Milky Way. No spiral is apparent, and the dense nucleus so conspicuous in other galaxies is hidden behind dust clouds that fog the Milky Way.

Last week Jan H. Oort of Leyden University Observatory told how Dutch astronomers have been probing the nucleus of the home galaxy with the powerful new tool...

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