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Milky Way's Mythical History


The name of our galaxy, the Milky Way, comes from the ancient Greeks and their belief that it was made from drops of milk from the breasts of either the goddess Hera or the goddess Rhea. According to one legend, while Heracles was suckling from Hera, she realized that the infant was the illegitimate son of Zeus and another woman, and pushed him away. The spurting milk formed the Milky Way. According to another legend, goddess Rhea, mother of Zeus, tried to prevent her husband Cronus from doing what he always did to her children (swallowing them). She wrapped a stone in Zeus' clothes and gave it to Cronus. However, Cronus asked her to nurse the baby once again, before he ate it, so the milk spurted when she pressed her nipple against the rock. That's how ancient Greeks imagined the creation of the Milky Way.
 
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