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Click the tartan to view its entry in The Scottish Registers of Tartans which includes registration details, restrictions, and registrant information.


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Milky Way Viewing Season

"The Milky Way is nothing else but a mass of innumerable stars planted together in clusters." ~ Galileo Galilei, 1610

The Milky Way, our galaxy, is a grand barred spiral structure comprising roughly 300 billion stars, mixed with interstellar dust, gas, and nebulae. Situated within one of its smaller spiral arms known as Orion, our Sun is just one of countless stars in this vast cosmic entity. Visually, this tartan represents the Milky Way with the lighter bands illustrating the dense swathes of stars that align with the galactic plane. Contrastingly, the darker areas depict the Zone of Avoidance—a region obscured by starlight attenuation and dense cosmic dust blocking our view. Adding a vivid touch to this cosmic warp and weft, red lines traverse the galaxy, symbolizing the cosmological redshift caused by the universe's expansion. Amidst this dynamic celestial ballet, our Milky Way is not static but rather on a collision course with Andromeda, another spiral galaxy. However, there’s no immediate cause for alarm—it's a slow dance on an astronomical timescale, unfolding across the vastness of space and time over the next 4.5 milliion years! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 💫 🔭 💙 💜 🖤 💗 🌌

In western culture, the name "Milky Way" for our view of our own galaxy is derived from its appearance as a dim un-resolved "milky" glowing band arching across the night sky. The term is a translation of the Classical Latin via lactea, in turn derived from the Hellenistic Greek for "milky circle". In Greek mythology, the Milky Way was supposedly created from the forceful suckling of Heracles, when Hera acted as a wet nurse for the young hero.

From Earth, the Milky Way appears as a band because its disk-shaped structure is viewed from within. Galileo Galilei first resolved the band of light into individual stars with his telescope in 1610.  And until the early 1920s, most astronomers thought that the Milky Way contained all the stars in the Universe.   Observations by Edwin Hubble showed that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies - now estimated as hundreds of billions of galaxies in the observable universe.

This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, represents a view of the Milky Way with the light bands showing the concentration of stars located in the direction of the galactic plane along with the dark regions in the Zone of Avoidance where the light is blocked by interstellar dust.   The red lines represent the cosmological red shift, due to the expansion of the universe.

Generally the dense part of the Milky Way is best viewed when it is as high as possible in the Southern sky. Facing south during April and May the pre-dawn hours are best. From June to early August the best time is near midnight, though the Milky Way will be visible almost all night. From Mid August through September the best time is soon after the sun has set and the sky has grown dark.  The farther North you go, the lower in the southern sky the Milky Way will be.  If you live above 65 degrees north, you will never see the Milky Way core because it never rises above your local horizon. 

For details on this latest announcement of an X-shaped formation within our galaxy, click the "Nature Speaks" photo by Michael Shainblum.

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