The Milky Way and the Local Group

Roberto Rampazzo, Mauro D'Onofrio, Simone Zaggia, James M. Lattis, Pieter C. van der Kruit, Antonella Vallenari, Daniela Calzetti, Barry F. Madore, Valentina Karachentseva, Rodrigo Ibata, Carme Gallart, George Lake, Brent R. Tully, Gerald F. Gilmore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The beauty and the charm of the Milky May (MW) have been celebrated by countless poets and writers of many Countries along the centuries (see e.g. the beautiful anthology of Piero Boitani 2012 ). The stellar nature of the MW was firstly observed by Galileo. In 1610 in the Sidereus Nuncius ( Galilei 1993 ) Galileo wrote that the MW is "nient'altro che una congerie di innumerevoli Stelle, disseminate a mucchi; chè in qualunque regione di essa si diriga il cannocchiale, subito una ingente folla di Stelle si presenta alla vista, delle quali parecchi si vedono abbastanza grandi e molto distinte; ma la moltitudine delle piccole è del tutto inesplorabile". In the same paragraph, Galileo remarked that observations with his telescope, for the first time, wipe out centuries of philosophical discussions about the nature of the MW. Three more centuries have been necessary to complete a second radical Copernican Revolution that displaces the solar system from being roughly at the center of the MW and project this latter in the vast Universe populated by billions of similar spiral galaxies (see Chap. 1).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom the Realm of the Nebulae to Populations of Galaxies
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-31006-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Physics

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