The cornerstone of any system of mythology is a cosmological image. Strange to say, even with ground breaking advances such as the detection of the Higg's particle at the level of particle physics the bigger picture still eludes us.
The Milky Way is far more dramatic than a simple spiral galaxy. Above it is a huge arc consisting of the large and small Magellanic clouds, these are are small galaxies that have been stretched out by the gravity of the Milky Way. There is a small galaxy of stars called the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy which is like a fountain, careering through the plane of our Milky Way every 10 million years or so. In a few billion years all of these will be engulfed by the huge trillion star Andromeda Galaxy which is heading our way at 300,000 miles an hour pulling the smaller Triangulum Galaxy in its wake. Yet all of this local activity pales into insignificance when we pull back and consider the Milky Way's outlier position in the Laniakea Supercluster.
Cosmologists now tell us that the hitherto detectable material of the Universe constitutes (based on gravitational anomalies) only 5% of the total. They posited something called dark matter as constituting 27% and something called dark energy as making up the remaining 68%.
Do the stars still talk to us?
They do and astronomers have battalions of radio telescopes pointed at the heaven picking up their messages on many different frequencies.For instance in August 27th 1998 a gamma ray pulse hit the earth above the Pacific Ocean knocking many satellites into shutdown mode. The inner edge of the ionosphere was pushed down 25Km for a period of five minutes causing considerable excitement and concern among astronomers working the night shift.This was not the first such event observed by astronomers, in 1979 a similar pulse that pushed radiation detectors off the scale was detected and its source was found to be high above the Milky Way in the Large Magellanic Cloud Galaxy(Scientific America Feb.2003 - Magnetars) . And then in 14th Sept 2015 a gravitational wave oscillation arrived after a 1.3billion light year journey through space-time at the aLIGO Interferometer where its effects on time were measurable, giving rise to the tell-tale predicted signature signal of two merging black holes.
Nebraska Astronomy Applets Project
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has created a series of excellent interactive animations which allow the non specialist to get a feel for the extremely rich field of astronomy. Below under the Astro Movies tab is a selection of movies pertinent to the DMRT's interest in the origins and evolution of civilisation.
( Title: The Nebraska Astronomy Applets Project - Team headed by Dr.Kevin Lee; see all applets at http://astro.unl.edu/ )