The Milky Way Picture

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There are many creation myths around the world regarding the Milky Way. In particular, there are two similar ancient Greek stories that explain the etymology of the name Galaxias (Γαλαξίας
Akashaganga is the Indian name for the Milky Way Galaxy, which means Ganges River of the Sky.

According to Greek mythology, the Milky Way was formed by Hera, who spilled milk in the sky after discovering that Zeus had tricked her into feeding young Heracles. In another variant, Hermes snuck Heracles into Olympus to drink from the breasts of Hera who was asleep. Heracles bit Hera's nipple shooting her milk into the skies forming the Milky Way.

In Finnish mythology the Milky Way was called Linnunrata (pathway of the birds). The Finns observed the migratory birds used the galaxy as a guideline to travel south, where they believed Lintukoto (bird home) resided. Only later the scientists indeed confirmed the observation correct; the migratory birds use the Milky Way as a guide and dwell the winters in warm, southern lands. The Milky Way is even today called Linnunrata in the Finnish language.

In Swedish, the Milky Way is known as Vintergatan (winter street), for apparent reasons; it is most visible in the winter in Scandinavia.

Ancient Armenian mythology called the Milky Way the "Straw Thief's Way", relating to one of the gods stealing straw and attempting to flee across the heavens in a wooden chariot, spilling some of the straw along the way.

In Hindu mythology the galaxy is called the s'is'umara cakra: the dolphin disc. Looking in the night sky one recognized the band of stars as the belly of a dolphin.
Continue Reading: Heracles