Road to Santiago – Oil on canvas

36” x 36”

In Spanish, the Milky Way is called a few different things. First, via lactea, or the Milky Way. Camino de Santiago means the “Road of

Santiago” or “Road to Santiago,” and was used for the Milky Way because pilgrims used it to guide them to Santiago de Compostela, a holy site. Compostela is the third way to say the name of the galaxy, and this one is perhaps the most accurate of all the different names. It literally means “the field of stars.”

The Milky Way is what’s known as a barred spiral galaxy—it’s shaped like a spiral with a straight bar across its center. About two-thirds of the galaxies in the known universe are spirals, and about two-thirds of the spiral galaxies are barred, making the Milky Way one of the most common types of galaxies. Spirals like the Milky Way have arms that stretch out from the center like wheel spokes and curl back around the hub. Our solar system is perched in the center of one of those spokes—the Orion Arm.

The Orion Arm was once considered a “spur,” a minor protrusion compared to major arms like the Perseus Arm and the Carina-Sagittarius Arm. However, it’s recently been suggested that the Orion is actually a branch of the Perseus Arm and doesn’t originate in the center of the galaxy at all.

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Road to Santiago – oil on canvas

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