Milky Way’s Color Is White As a Morning’s Snow
Our galaxy is aptly named the Milky Way — it looks white, the color of fresh spring snow in the early morning, scientists now reveal.
Color is a key detail of galaxies, shedding light on its history of star formation. Unfortunately, since we are located well within our galaxy, clouds of gas and dust obscure all but the closest regions of the galaxy from view, keeping us from directly seeing what color our galaxy is as a whole.
“We can really only see 1,000 to 2,000 light-years in any direction — the Milky Way is 100,000 light-years across,” said study co-author Jeffrey Newman at the University of Pittsburgh. “The problem is similar to determining the overall color of the Earth when you’re only able to tell what Pennsylvania looks like.”
To sidestep this problem, astronomers decided to look at other galaxies’ colors to figure out the hue of our own. The reasoning is that galaxies whose other properties closely match the Milky Way’s likely can tell us what our galaxy’s color is.