Galaxy glows on dark fall nights

Early fall is an excellent time to catch a view of the Milky Way, arching across the early evening sky from the constellation of Sagittarius in the southwest to Perseus in the northeast.

This is the light of myriad stars that make up the galaxy that we are in, stars too faint to be individually seen with the unaided eye.

You will need to get away from the city to see this, but it is worth the drive. You should try it on a night with no clouds. You won't want the light of the moon, either, so use the dark skies of the last week of this month through the first week of October.

Jupiter is in Sagittarius, a teapot-shaped constellation very nearly in the direction of the center of our galaxy. You will notice dark streaks through the Milky Way's section near the zenith, in Cygnus. Those areas are not lacking stars but are areas of galactic dust that blocks the light of the stars. If it were not for the dust in our galaxy, you would be able to read this paper by the light of the Milky Way.

Every star you see in the night sky is a member of our galaxy. They just look denser along the Milky Way because there we are looking along the plane of its pancake-shaped collection of billions of stars.