The Milky Way Galaxy
The Milky Way Galaxy is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies that populate our universe. Our galaxy's name - the Milky Way - is a translation from the Latin "Via Lactea" which is derived from the Greek word "Kiklios Galaxios" which means milky circle. If you go to a dark sky location, the plane of the Milky Way appears as a swath of light across the night sky. There is a Greek myth for the origin of the Milky Way. That is that the baby Heracles is brought by Zeus to Hera to drink her milk so he could become immortal and the Milky Way is nothing more than spilt milk.
It was the Greek Democritus (460-370BC) who first claimed that the Milky Way consisted of distant stars. William Herschel in 1785 made the first map of the Milky Way. Herschel was the first to study and measure the distribution of stars in space. He counted the stars he could see and concluded that the stars were grouped into a huge disk formation and he was right.
A Polar View of the Milky Way Galaxy
Source = http://www.astrodigital.org/astronomy/milkywaygalaxy.html