New General Catalogue
The New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars is a catalogue of deep-sky objects compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888. It expands upon the cataloguing work of William and Caroline Herschel, John Herschel's General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars; the NGC contains 7,840 objects, known as the NGC objects. It is one of the largest comprehensive catalogues, as it includes all types of deep space objects, including galaxies, star clusters, emission nebulae and absorption nebulae. Dreyer published two supplements to the NGC in 1895 and 1908, known as the Index Catalogues, describing a further 5,386 astronomical objects. Objects in the sky of the southern hemisphere are catalogued somewhat less but many were observed by John Herschel or James Dunlop; the NGC had many errors, but an attempt to eliminate them was initiated by the NGC/IC Project in 1993, after partial attempts with the Revised New General Catalogue by Jack W. Sulentic and William G. Tifft in 1973, NGC2000.0 by Roger W. Sinnott in 1988.
The Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue was compiled in 2009 by Wolfgang Steinicke. The original New General Catalogue was compiled during the 1880s by John Louis Emil Dreyer using observations from William Herschel and his son John, among others. Dreyer had published a supplement to Herschel's General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters, containing about 1,000 new objects. In 1886, he suggested building a second supplement to the General Catalogue, but the Royal Astronomical Society asked Dreyer to compile a new version instead; this led to the publication of the New General Catalogue in the Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1888. Assembling the NGC was a challenge, as Dreyer had to deal with many contradicting and unclear reports, made with a variety of telescopes with apertures ranging from 2 to 72 inches. While he did check some himself, the sheer number of objects meant Dreyer had to accept them as published by others for the purpose of his compilation; the catalogue contained several errors relating to position and descriptions, but Dreyer referenced the catalogue, which allowed astronomers to review the original references and publish corrections to the original NGC.
The first major update to the NGC is the Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, published in two parts by Dreyer in 1895 and 1908. It serves as a supplement to the NGC, contains an additional 5,386 objects, collectively known as the IC objects, it summarizes the discoveries of galaxies and nebulae between 1888 and 1907, most of them made possible by photography. A list of corrections to the IC was published in 1912; the Revised New Catalogue of Nonstellar Astronomical Objects was compiled by Jack W. Sulentic and William G. Tifft in the early 1970s, was published in 1973, as an update to the NGC; the work did not incorporate several previously-published corrections to the NGC data, introduced some new errors. Nearly 800 objects are listed as "non-existent" in the RNGC; the designation is applied to objects which are duplicate catalogue entries, those which were not detected in subsequent observations, a number of objects catalogued as star clusters which in subsequent studies were regarded as coincidental groupings.
A 1993 monograph considered the 229 star clusters called non-existent in the RNGC. They had been "misidentified or have not been located since their discovery in the 18th and 19th centuries", it found that one of the 229—NGC 1498—was not in the sky. Five others were duplicates of other entries, 99 existed "in some form", the other 124 required additional research to resolve; as another example, reflection nebula NGC 2163 in Orion was classified "non-existent" due to a transcription error by Dreyer. Dreyer corrected his own mistake in the Index Catalogues, but the RNGC preserved the original error, additionally reversed the sign of the declination, resulting in NGC 2163 being classified as non-existent. NGC 2000.0 is a 1988 compilation of the NGC and IC made by Roger W. Sinnott, using the J2000.0 coordinates. It incorporates several errata made by astronomers over the years; the NGC/IC Project is a collaboration formed in 1993. It aims to identify all NGC and IC objects, collect images and basic astronomical data on them.
The Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue is a compilation made by Wolfgang Steinicke in 2009. It is a authoritative treatment of the NGC and IC catalogues. Messier object Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars Astronomical catalogue List of astronomical catalogues List of NGC objects The Interactive NGC Catalog Online Adventures in Deep Space: Challenging Observing Projects for Amateur Astronomers. Revised New General Catalogue
A constellation is a group of stars that forms an imaginary outline or pattern on the celestial sphere representing an animal, mythological person or creature, a god, or an inanimate object. The origins of the earliest constellations go back to prehistory. People used them to relate stories of their beliefs, creation, or mythology. Different cultures and countries adopted their own constellations, some of which lasted into the early 20th century before today's constellations were internationally recognized. Adoption of constellations has changed over time. Many have changed in shape; some became popular. Others were limited to single nations; the 48 traditional Western constellations are Greek. They are given in Aratus' work Phenomena and Ptolemy's Almagest, though their origin predates these works by several centuries. Constellations in the far southern sky were added from the 15th century until the mid-18th century when European explorers began traveling to the Southern Hemisphere. Twelve ancient constellations belong to the zodiac.
The origins of the zodiac remain uncertain. In 1928, the International Astronomical Union formally accepted 88 modern constellations, with contiguous boundaries that together cover the entire celestial sphere. Any given point in a celestial coordinate system lies in one of the modern constellations; some astronomical naming systems include the constellation where a given celestial object is found to convey its approximate location in the sky. The Flamsteed designation of a star, for example, consists of a number and the genitive form of the constellation name. Other star patterns or groups called asterisms are not constellations per se but are used by observers to navigate the night sky. Examples of bright asterisms include the Pleiades and Hyades within the constellation Taurus or Venus' Mirror in the constellation of Orion.. Some asterisms, like the False Cross, are split between two constellations; the word "constellation" comes from the Late Latin term cōnstellātiō, which can be translated as "set of stars".
The Ancient Greek word for constellation is ἄστρον. A more modern astronomical sense of the term "constellation" is as a recognisable pattern of stars whose appearance is associated with mythological characters or creatures, or earthbound animals, or objects, it can specifically denote the recognized 88 named constellations used today. Colloquial usage does not draw a sharp distinction between "constellations" and smaller "asterisms", yet the modern accepted astronomical constellations employ such a distinction. E.g. the Pleiades and the Hyades are both asterisms, each lies within the boundaries of the constellation of Taurus. Another example is the northern asterism known as the Big Dipper or the Plough, composed of the seven brightest stars within the area of the IAU-defined constellation of Ursa Major; the southern False Cross asterism includes portions of the constellations Carina and Vela and the Summer Triangle.. A constellation, viewed from a particular latitude on Earth, that never sets below the horizon is termed circumpolar.
From the North Pole or South Pole, all constellations south or north of the celestial equator are circumpolar. Depending on the definition, equatorial constellations may include those that lie between declinations 45° north and 45° south, or those that pass through the declination range of the ecliptic or zodiac ranging between 23½° north, the celestial equator, 23½° south. Although stars in constellations appear near each other in the sky, they lie at a variety of distances away from the Earth. Since stars have their own independent motions, all constellations will change over time. After tens to hundreds of thousands of years, familiar outlines will become unrecognizable. Astronomers can predict the past or future constellation outlines by measuring individual stars' common proper motions or cpm by accurate astrometry and their radial velocities by astronomical spectroscopy; the earliest evidence for the humankind's identification of constellations comes from Mesopotamian inscribed stones and clay writing tablets that date back to 3000 BC.
It seems that the bulk of the Mesopotamian constellations were created within a short interval from around 1300 to 1000 BC. Mesopotamian constellations appeared in many of the classical Greek constellations; the oldest Babylonian star catalogues of stars and constellations date back to the beginning in the Middle Bronze Age, most notably the Three Stars Each texts and the MUL. APIN, an expanded and revised version based on more accurate observation from around 1000 BC. However, the numerous Sumerian names in these catalogues suggest that they built on older, but otherwise unattested, Sumerian traditions of the Early Bronze Age; the classical Zodiac is a revision of Neo-Babylonian constellations from the 6th century BC. The Greeks adopted the Babylonian constellations in the 4th century BC. Twenty Ptolemaic constellations are from the Ancient Near East. Another ten have the same stars but different names. Biblical scholar, E. W. Bullinger interpreted some of the creatures mentioned in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation as the middle signs of the four quarters of the Zodiac, with the Lion as Leo, the Bull as Taurus, the Man representing Aquarius and the Eagle standing in for Scorpio.
The biblical Book of Job also
Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope, launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and remains in operation. Although not the first space telescope, Hubble is one of the largest and most versatile and is well known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy; the HST is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble and is one of NASA's Great Observatories, along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope. With a 2.4-meter mirror, Hubble's four main instruments observe in the ultraviolet and near infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Hubble's orbit outside the distortion of Earth's atmosphere allows it to take high-resolution images, with lower background light than ground-based telescopes. Hubble has recorded some of the most detailed visible light images allowing a deep view into space and time. Many Hubble observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as determining the rate of expansion of the universe.
The HST was built by the United States space agency NASA, with contributions from the European Space Agency. The Space Telescope Science Institute selects Hubble's targets and processes the resulting data, while the Goddard Space Flight Center controls the spacecraft. Space telescopes were proposed as early as 1923. Hubble was funded in the 1970s, with a proposed launch in 1983, but the project was beset by technical delays, budget problems, the Challenger disaster; when launched in 1990, Hubble's main mirror was found to have been ground incorrectly, creating a spherical aberration, compromising the telescope's capabilities. The optics were corrected to their intended quality by a servicing mission in 1993. Hubble is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts. After launch by Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990, five subsequent Space Shuttle missions repaired and replaced systems on the telescope, including all five of the main instruments; the fifth mission was canceled on safety grounds following the Columbia disaster.
However, after spirited public discussion, NASA administrator Mike Griffin approved the fifth servicing mission, completed in 2009. The telescope is operating as of 2019, could last until 2030–2040. After numerous delays, its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is scheduled to be launched in March 2021. In 1923, Hermann Oberth—considered a father of modern rocketry, along with Robert H. Goddard and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky—published Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen, which mentioned how a telescope could be propelled into Earth orbit by a rocket; the history of the Hubble Space Telescope can be traced back as far as 1946, to the astronomer Lyman Spitzer's paper "Astronomical advantages of an extraterrestrial observatory". In it, he discussed the two main advantages that a space-based observatory would have over ground-based telescopes. First, the angular resolution would be limited only by diffraction, rather than by the turbulence in the atmosphere, which causes stars to twinkle, known to astronomers as seeing.
At that time ground-based telescopes were limited to resolutions of 0.5–1.0 arcseconds, compared to a theoretical diffraction-limited resolution of about 0.05 arcsec for a telescope with a mirror 2.5 m in diameter. Second, a space-based telescope could observe infrared and ultraviolet light, which are absorbed by the atmosphere. Spitzer devoted much of his career to pushing for the development of a space telescope. In 1962, a report by the US National Academy of Sciences recommended the development of a space telescope as part of the space program, in 1965 Spitzer was appointed as head of a committee given the task of defining scientific objectives for a large space telescope. Space-based astronomy had begun on a small scale following World War II, as scientists made use of developments that had taken place in rocket technology; the first ultraviolet spectrum of the Sun was obtained in 1946, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched the Orbiting Solar Observatory to obtain UV, X-ray, gamma-ray spectra in 1962.
An orbiting solar telescope was launched in 1962 by the United Kingdom as part of the Ariel space program, in 1966 NASA launched the first Orbiting Astronomical Observatory mission. OAO-1's battery failed after three days, it was followed by OAO-2, which carried out ultraviolet observations of stars and galaxies from its launch in 1968 until 1972, well beyond its original planned lifetime of one year. The OSO and OAO missions demonstrated the important role space-based observations could play in astronomy, in 1968, NASA developed firm plans for a space-based reflecting telescope with a mirror 3 m in diameter, known provisionally as the Large Orbiting Telescope or Large Space Telescope, with a launch slated for 1979; these plans emphasized the need for manned maintenance missions to the telescope to ensure such a costly program had a lengthy working life, the concurrent development of plans for the reusable Space Shuttle indicated that the technology to allow this was soon to become available.
The continuing success of the OAO program encouraged strong consensus within the astronomical community that the LST should be a major goal. In 1970, NASA established two committees, one to plan the engineering side of the space telescope project, the other to determine the scientific goals of the mission. Once these had been established, the next hurdle for NASA was to obtain funding for the instrument, which would be far more costly than any Earth-bas
Principal Galaxies Catalogue
The Catalogue of Principal Galaxies is an astronomical catalog published in 1989 that lists B1950 and J2000 equatorial coordinates and cross-identifications for 73,197 galaxies. It is based on the Lyon-Meudon Extragalactic Database, started in 1983. 40,932 coordinates have standard deviations smaller than 10″. A total of 131,601 names from the 38 most common sources are listed. Available mean data for each object are given: 49,102 morphological descriptions, 52,954 apparent major and minor axis, 67,116 apparent magnitudes, 20,046 radial velocities and 24,361 position angles; the Lyon-Meudon Extragalactic Database was expanded into HyperLEDA, a database of a few million galaxies. Galaxies in the original PGC catalogue are numbered with their original PGC number in HyperLEDA. Numbers have been assigned for the other galaxies, although for those galaxies not in the original PGC catalogue, it is not recommended to use that number as a name. PGC 6240 is a large lenticular galaxy in the constellation Hydrus.
It is located about 106 million parsecs away from Earth. PGC 39058 is a dwarf galaxy, located 14 million light years away in the constellation of Draco, it is nearby, however it is obscured by a bright star, in front of the galaxy. Category:Principal Galaxies Catalogue objects Astronomical catalogue PGC info at ESO's archive of astronomical catalogues PGC readme at Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg
Galaxy morphological classification
Galaxy morphological classification is a system used by astronomers to divide galaxies into groups based on their visual appearance. There are several schemes in use by which galaxies can be classified according to their morphologies, the most famous being the Hubble sequence, devised by Edwin Hubble and expanded by Gérard de Vaucouleurs and Allan Sandage; the Hubble sequence is a morphological classification scheme for galaxies invented by Edwin Hubble in 1926. It is known colloquially as the “Hubble tuning-fork” because of the shape in which it is traditionally represented. Hubble's scheme divides galaxies into three broad classes based on their visual appearance: Elliptical galaxies have smooth, featureless light distributions and appear as ellipses in images, they are denoted by the letter "E", followed by an integer n representing their degree of ellipticity on the sky. Spiral galaxies consist of a flattened disk, with stars forming a spiral structure, a central concentration of stars known as the bulge, similar in appearance to an elliptical galaxy.
They are given the symbol "S". Half of all spirals are observed to have a bar-like structure, extending from the central bulge; these barred spirals are given the symbol "SB". Lenticular galaxies consist of a bright central bulge surrounded by an extended, disk-like structure but, unlike spiral galaxies, the disks of lenticular galaxies have no visible spiral structure and are not forming stars in any significant quantity; these broad classes can be extended to enable finer distinctions of appearance and to encompass other types of galaxies, such as irregular galaxies, which have no obvious regular structure. The Hubble sequence is represented in the form of a two-pronged fork, with the ellipticals on the left and the barred and unbarred spirals forming the two parallel prongs of the fork. Lenticular galaxies are placed between the ellipticals and the spirals, at the point where the two prongs meet the “handle”. To this day, the Hubble sequence is the most used system for classifying galaxies, both in professional astronomical research and in amateur astronomy.
The de Vaucouleurs system for classifying galaxies is a used extension to the Hubble sequence, first described by Gérard de Vaucouleurs in 1959. De Vaucouleurs argued that Hubble's two-dimensional classification of spiral galaxies—based on the tightness of the spiral arms and the presence or absence of a bar—did not adequately describe the full range of observed galaxy morphologies. In particular, he argued that rings and lenses are important structural components of spiral galaxies; the de Vaucouleurs system retains Hubble's basic division of galaxies into ellipticals, lenticulars and irregulars. To complement Hubble's scheme, de Vaucouleurs introduced a more elaborate classification system for spiral galaxies, based on three morphological characteristics: The different elements of the classification scheme are combined — in the order in which they are listed — to give the complete classification of a galaxy. For example, a weakly barred spiral galaxy with loosely wound arms and a ring is denoted SABc.
Visually, the de Vaucouleurs system can be represented as a three-dimensional version of Hubble's tuning fork, with stage on the x-axis, family on the y-axis, variety on the z-axis. De Vaucouleurs assigned numerical values to each class of galaxy in his scheme. Values of the numerical Hubble stage T run from −6 to +10, with negative numbers corresponding to early-type galaxies and positive numbers to late types. Elliptical galaxies are divided into three'stages': compact ellipticals, normal ellipticals and late types. Lenticulars are subdivided into early and late types. Irregular galaxies can be of type magellanic irregulars or'compact'; the use of numerical stages allows for more quantitative studies of galaxy morphology. Created by American astronomer William Wilson Morgan. Together with Philip Keenan, Morgan developed the MK system for the classification of stars through their spectra; the Yerkes scheme uses the spectra of stars in the galaxy. Thus, for example, the Andromeda Galaxy is classified as kS5.
Morphological Catalogue of Galaxies Galaxy color–magnitude diagram Galaxy Zoo William Wilson Morgan Fritz Zwicky Galaxies and the Universe - an introduction to galaxy classification Near-Infrared Galaxy Morphology Atlas, T. H. Jarrett The Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey Hubble Tuning-Fork, SINGS Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy Science Project Go to GalaxyZoo.org to try your hand at classifying galaxies as part of an Oxford University open community project
Pavo is a constellation in the southern sky whose name is Latin for "peacock." Pavo first appeared on a 35-cm diameter celestial globe published in 1598 in Amsterdam by Plancius and Jodocus Hondius and was depicted in Johann Bayer's star atlas Uranometria of 1603, was conceived by Petrus Plancius from the observations of Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. French explorer and astronomer Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille gave its stars Bayer designations in 1756; the constellations Pavo, Grus and Tucana are collectively known as the "Southern Birds". The constellation's brightest member, Alpha Pavonis, is known as Peacock and appears as a 1.91-magnitude blue-white star, but is a spectroscopic binary. Delta Pavonis is a nearby Sun-like star. Six of the star systems in Pavo have been found to host planets, including HD 181433 with a super-earth, HD 172555 with evidence of a major interplanetary collision in the past few thousand years; the constellation contains NGC 6752, the third-brightest globular cluster in the sky, the spiral galaxy NGC 6744, which resembles the Milky Way but is twice as large.
Pavo displays an annual meteor shower known as the Delta Pavonids, whose radiant is near the star δ Pav. Pavo was one of the twelve constellations established by Petrus Plancius from the observations of the southern sky by explorers Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman, who had sailed on the first Dutch trading expedition, known as the Eerste Schipvaart, to the East Indies, it first appeared on a 35-cm diameter celestial globe published in 1598 in Amsterdam by Plancius with Jodocus Hondius. The first depiction of this constellation in a celestial atlas was in German cartographer Johann Bayer's Uranometria of 1603. De Houtman included it in his southern star catalogue the same year under the Dutch name De Pauww, "The Peacock". Pavo and the nearby constellations Phoenix and Tucana are collectively called the "Southern Birds". According to Mark Chartrand, former executive director of the National Space Institute, Plancius may not have been the first to designate this group of stars as a peacock: "In Greek myth the stars that are now the Peacock were Argos, builder of the ship Argo.
He was changed by the goddess Juno into a peacock and placed in the sky along with his ship." Indeed, the peacock "symboliz the starry firmament" for the Greeks, the goddess Hera was believed to drive through the heavens in a chariot drawn by peacocks. The peacock and the "Argus" nomenclature are prominent in a different myth, in which Io, a beautiful princess of Argos, was lusted after by Zeus. Zeus changed Io into a heifer to deceive his wife couple with her. Hera asked for the heifer as a gift. Zeus, unable to refuse such a reasonable request, reluctantly gave the heifer to Hera, who promptly banished Io and arranged for Argus Panoptes, a creature with one hundred eyes, to guard the now-pregnant Io from Zeus. Meanwhile, Zeus entreated Hermes to save Io. Hera adorned the tail of a peacock—her favorite bird—with Argus's eyes in his honor; as recounted in Ovid's Metamorphoses, the death of Argus Panoptes contains an explicit celestial reference: "Argus lay dead. Saturnia retrieved those eyes to set in place among the feathers of her bird and filled his tail with starry jewels."It is uncertain whether the Dutch astronomers had the Greek mythos in mind when creating Pavo but, in keeping with other constellations introduced by Plancius through Keyser and De Houtmann, the "peacock" in the new constellation referred to the green peacock, which the explorers would have encountered in the East Indies, rather than the blue peacock known to the ancient Greeks.
The Wardaman people of the Northern Territory in Australia saw the stars of Pavo and the neighbouring constellation Ara as flying foxes. Pavo is bordered by Telescopium to the north and Ara to the west, Octans to the south, Indus to the east and northeast. Covering 378 square degrees, it ranks 44th of the 88 modern constellations in size and covers 0.916% of the night sky. The three-letter abbreviation for the constellation, as adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1922, is "Pav"; the official constellation boundaries, as set by Eugène Delporte in 1930, are defined by a polygon of 10 segments. In the equatorial coordinate system, the right ascension coordinates of these borders lie between 18h 10.4m and 21h 32.4m, while the declination coordinates are between −56.59° and −74.98°. As one of the deep southern constellations, it remains below the horizon at latitudes north of the 30th parallel in the Northern Hemisphere, is circumpolar at latitudes south of the 50th parallel in the Southern Hemisphere.
Although he depicted Pavo on his chart, Bayer did not assign its stars Bayer designations. French explorer and astronomer Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille labelled them Alpha to Omega in 1756, but omitted Psi and Xi, labelled two pairs of stars close together Mu and Phi Pavonis. In 1879, American astronomer Benjamin Gould designated a star Xi Pavonis as he felt its brightness warranted a name, but dropped Chi Pavonis due to its faintness. Lying near the constellation's northern border with Telescopium is Alpha Pavonis, the brightest star in Pavo, its proper name — Peacock — is an English translation of the constellation's name. It was assigned by the British Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office in the late 1930s. Alpha has an apparent magnitude of 1.91
A galaxy is a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas and dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias "milky", a reference to the Milky Way. Galaxies range in size from dwarfs with just a few hundred million stars to giants with one hundred trillion stars, each orbiting its galaxy's center of mass. Galaxies are categorized according to their visual morphology as spiral, or irregular. Many galaxies are thought to have supermassive black holes at their centers; the Milky Way's central black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, has a mass four million times greater than the Sun. As of March 2016, GN-z11 is the oldest and most distant observed galaxy with a comoving distance of 32 billion light-years from Earth, observed as it existed just 400 million years after the Big Bang. Research released in 2016 revised the number of galaxies in the observable universe from a previous estimate of 200 billion to a suggested 2 trillion or more, containing more stars than all the grains of sand on planet Earth.
Most of the galaxies are 1,000 to 100,000 parsecs in diameter and separated by distances on the order of millions of parsecs. For comparison, the Milky Way has a diameter of at least 30,000 parsecs and is separated from the Andromeda Galaxy, its nearest large neighbor, by 780,000 parsecs; the space between galaxies is filled with a tenuous gas having an average density of less than one atom per cubic meter. The majority of galaxies are gravitationally organized into groups and superclusters; the Milky Way is part of the Local Group, dominated by it and the Andromeda Galaxy and is part of the Virgo Supercluster. At the largest scale, these associations are arranged into sheets and filaments surrounded by immense voids; the largest structure of galaxies yet recognised is a cluster of superclusters, named Laniakea, which contains the Virgo supercluster. The origin of the word galaxy derives from the Greek term for the Milky Way, galaxias, or kyklos galaktikos due to its appearance as a "milky" band of light in the sky.
In Greek mythology, Zeus places his son born by a mortal woman, the infant Heracles, on Hera's breast while she is asleep so that the baby will drink her divine milk and will thus become immortal. Hera wakes up while breastfeeding and realizes she is nursing an unknown baby: she pushes the baby away, some of her milk spills, it produces the faint band of light known as the Milky Way. In the astronomical literature, the capitalized word "Galaxy" is used to refer to our galaxy, the Milky Way, to distinguish it from the other galaxies in our universe; the English term Milky Way can be traced back to a story by Chaucer c. 1380: "See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë Which men clepeth the Milky Wey, For hit is whyt." Galaxies were discovered telescopically and were known as spiral nebulae. Most 18th to 19th Century astronomers considered them as either unresolved star clusters or anagalactic nebulae, were just thought as a part of the Milky Way, but their true composition and natures remained a mystery. Observations using larger telescopes of a few nearby bright galaxies, like the Andromeda Galaxy, began resolving them into huge conglomerations of stars, but based on the apparent faintness and sheer population of stars, the true distances of these objects placed them well beyond the Milky Way.
For this reason they were popularly called island universes, but this term fell into disuse, as the word universe implied the entirety of existence. Instead, they became known as galaxies. Tens of thousands of galaxies have been catalogued, but only a few have well-established names, such as the Andromeda Galaxy, the Magellanic Clouds, the Whirlpool Galaxy, the Sombrero Galaxy. Astronomers work with numbers from certain catalogues, such as the Messier catalogue, the NGC, the IC, the CGCG, the MCG and UGC. All of the well-known galaxies appear in one or more of these catalogues but each time under a different number. For example, Messier 109 is a spiral galaxy having the number 109 in the catalogue of Messier, having the designations NGC 3992, UGC 6937, CGCG 269-023, MCG +09-20-044, PGC 37617; the realization that we live in a galaxy, one among many galaxies, parallels major discoveries that were made about the Milky Way and other nebulae. The Greek philosopher Democritus proposed that the bright band on the night sky known as the Milky Way might consist of distant stars.
Aristotle, believed the Milky Way to be caused by "the ignition of the fiery exhalation of some stars that were large and close together" and that the "ignition takes place in the upper part of the atmosphere, in the region of the World, continuous with the heavenly motions." The Neoplatonist philosopher Olympiodorus the Younger was critical of this view, arguing that if the Milky Way is sublunary it should appear different at different times and places on Earth, that it should have parallax, which it does not. In his view, the Milky Way is celestial. According to Mohani Mohamed, the Arabian astronomer Alhazen made the first attempt at observing and measuring the Milky Way's parallax, he thus "determined that because the Milky Way had no parallax, it must be remote from the Earth, not belonging to the atmosphere." The Persian astronomer al-Bīrūnī