Leiden, April 1953.

It took centuries of searching, years of waiting, months of observing and weeks of calculating. For the very first time in human history a group of scientists looks at a map: the first map of our Galaxy, our Island in the Universe. These scientists are some of the top Dutch astronomers. And the map is the result of an extraordinary prediction, cutting-edge technological development and a lot of persistence. Spiral Galaxy, the Milky Way unravelled, highlights the huge contribution of Dutch scientists between 1886 and 1955 to a new view of our Universe. A view where man, Earth and Sun are no longer at the centre of everything.

The story is told by Prof. Adriaan Blaauw (1914-2010),
Prof. Hugo van Woerden (1926, Professor Emeritus astrophysics at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands), Prof. Kees de Jager (1921, Professor Emeritus astrophysics and space research at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands) and Arie Hin (1927, retired technician of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, ASTRON).

See spiralgalaxy.nl for more background information and for obtaining the DVD.

Also see here one of the extra interviews (all of them are on the DVD) with explanation on the technique of distance measurement in the Galaxy using hydrogen radio emission: vimeo.com/lightcurvefilms/gasclouds.

A production by Lightcurve Films (lightcurvefilms.com) and DKW Films (pieterrimdekroon.com) © 2009.

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