Orion Arm


This isn’t my image, it actually comes from Airstream, but it reminds me of what I see from my own Airstream—Florence—almost every night. From my Airstream, I can frequently see the Milky Way cloud, which is pretty amazing.

Until I had the good fortune of owning the Airstream, the darkest place I had visited was Costa Rica, where I was simply amazed at the number of stars I could see with the naked eye. It was in Costa Rica (when I was about 25 years old) that I first saw the Milky Way “cloud.”

With the naked eye, you can see thousands of stars—both in Costa Rica and at my Airstream! According to Wikipedia, there are likely at least 100 billion planets in the Milky Way “cloud” which is actually a spiral-shaped concentration of gas and dust called the Orion Arm.

Our Solar System (and our planet) is located within that disk, about 27,000 light-years from the Galactic Center, on the inner edge of one of the Orion Arm. That means that when I am standing outside Florence, looking up at the amazing sky, some of the light I am seeing is 27,000 years old.