From this carefully chosen perspective in Salamanca, Spain, photographer César Vega Toledano lines branches of a tree to be continuous with dust lanes in our Milky Way galaxy. It’s an incredible composition.
But what I personally love about the perspective of this picture is that it reminds me of our place within the Milky Way. I get a sense of orbit, not around the Sun but around the center of our galaxy. It can be easy to forget that we are in a remote corner of a massive collection of stars and dust measuring 100,000 light years across. Traveling at an average speed of 515,000 mph, it takes the Sun about 250 million years to complete one rotation around the Milky Way’s core. The last time the Solar System was in this position, there were dinosaurs on Earth. The scales are unfathomable to our everyday experiences. Astronomy is so incredibly humbling.