Field of Science


The Milky Way's Spiral Structure And Our Place In It

Infrared images from the Spitzer Space Telescope have enabled scientists to map a new view of the Milky Way's elegant spiral structure. It is dominated by two major arms--Scutum-Centaurus and Perseus--and two minor arms--Norma and Sagittarius--which are located between the major arms. A radio-telescope survey also mapped a new spiral arm--the Far-3 kiloparsec arm--which lies along the central bar of the Milky Way.

In this annotated version of the map, our sun is show between the Sagittarius and Perseus arms near a small, partial arm called the Orion Arm, or Orion Spur.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech