Our Home in the Milky Way

Our Home in the Milky Way

Button controls

Help button
Help button: This button will open a window with help information.
Toggle controls
Toggle interactions:
  • Calculate comet speed - use this button to open a pop-up window that will help you calculate the comet's speed
  • Calculate comet's size - use this button to open a pop-up window that will help you calculate the comet's size
Command buttons
Reset button
Reset: reload the applet and reset the parameters.
Rewind button
Rewind: press and hold to advance the applet in reverse.
Pause button
Pause: temporarily stop the action in the applet.
Play button
Play: begin or resume the action in the applet.
Fast forward button
Fast Forward: press and hold to advance the applet.
End button
End: advance the applet to its end.
Speed button
Speed: click to select the number and input a higher number to increase the speed of the rewind and fast forward buttons.
Slider bar
Slider bar: shows the progression through the animation.
Drag controller
Drag controller: click and drag over this symbol to reposition the controller buttons within the applet frame.
Toggle controls
Collapse button: click this button to collapse controller button.

Using the applet

This applet has been designed to help students gain an appreciation for the vast scale of the Milky Way Galaxy. The applet begins by showing a representation of the Milky Way. As the animation progresses, the field zooms in on the solar system and then on the Earth itself. At the top of the applet is an approximate size which will correspond to the given field of view. Remember that one AU is equivalent to the distance between the Sun and the Earth.

One can clearly observe the vast differences between the sizes of the Milky Way, the solar system and the Earth.

Download the Flash Applet