Release 639 of 1,156

Hubble Images Majestic Cousin of the Milky Way

Release date: Aug 5, 2004 9:00 AM (EDT)
Release type: Hubble Heritage

Our Sun and solar system are embedded in a broad pancake of stars deep within the disk of the Milky Way galaxy. Even from a distance, it is impossible to see our galaxy's large-scale features other than the disk. The next best thing is to look farther out into the universe at galaxies that are similar in shape and structure to our home galaxy. Other spiral galaxies like NGC 3949, pictured in the Hubble image, fit the bill.