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The Milky Way from antiquity to modern times

  • Michael Hoskin (a1)

Abstract

The paper outlines the history of attempts to explain the Milky Way, from Antiquity to the early-twentieth century, with special reference to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Also discussed is the relationship of the Galaxy to other star systems, and particularly the question of whether there are other galaxies in the visible universe.

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References

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As this is a survey article, I have not given the references appropriate to a research paper, but the reader who wishes to pursue the subject further will find detailed discussion in my “Stellar Astronomy: Historical Studies” (Science History Publications, Halfpenny Furze, Mill.
Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks, U.K., 1982). The most complete study of the history of theories of the Milky Way is Jaki, S.L., “The Milky Way: An Elusive Road for Science” (Neale Watson Academic Publications, New York, 1972), of which the earlier chapters are conveniently summarised by Jaki in J. Hist. Astron. (1971, 2, 161–7, and 1972, 3, 199–204). The best available account of the modern period is in Smith, Robert W., “The Expanding Universe: Astronomy's ‘Great Debate’ 1900–1931” (Cambridge University Press, 1982).

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