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The Milky Way, in turn derived from the Greek Γαλαξίας (Galaxias) sometimes referred to simply as "the Galaxy", is a barred spiral galaxy that lies with the Local Group of galaxies neighbourhood of the Universe, visible from Earth as a band of light in the night sky. Although the Milky Way is one of billions of galaxies in the observable universe, the Galaxy has special significance to humanity as it is the home galaxy of the planet Earth.
Some sources hold that, strictly speaking, the term "Milky Way" should refer exclusively to the band of light, while the full name Milky Way Galaxy, or alternatively the Galaxy should be used to describe our galaxy as a whole. It is unclear how widespread the usage of this convention is, however, and the term "Milky Way" is routinely used in either context.
This is an image of about 100 degreees of our galaxy from south (left side) to north. Image taken with a Canon EOS20Da and a Sigma 10-22mm objective at 10mm f/5.6. This is a combination of 7 images with an total exposure time of 35 minutes.
This is a very deep and real image, so the "noise" in background is no noise, these are very very dim stars again. The image is not overprocessed and sharp. See the spikes on the very bright stars.
The red shine in the lower left corner ist a part of the wall from my observatory.