Unformatted text preview: In his 1785 paper "On the Co nstruction of the Heavens," Herschel wrote that our Milky Way is a very extensive, branching, compound Congeries of many millions of stars. Herschel's drawing shows a cross section through the Milky Way, our galaxy, as determined from his observations. Herschel proposed to determine the position of the solar system in the stratum of stars by " 'gaging' the heavens," that is, by counting the number of stars in different directions. This number, Herschel argued, assuming the stars to be equal in brightness and equally scattered, would be proportional to the distance to the edge of our galaxy in each particular direction. Although logically correct, his method failed in his day to get a true picture of the Milky Way , for his telescope could not detect ordinary stars at the farthest reaches of our galaxy. Further, as Herschel himself recognized, there was no good reason to assume that reaches of our galaxy....
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- Fall '10