tattered streamer of star-dust as of yore

Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
Above me shone the stars, for the night was very clear. I felt a certain sense of friendly comfort in their twinkling. All the old constellations had gone from the sky, however: that slow movement which is imperceptible in a hundred human lifetimes, had long since rearranged them in unfamiliar groupings. But the Milky Way, it seemed to me, was still the same tattered streamer of star-dust as of yore.
(The Time Machine – H. G. Wells)

I don't get the drift of what he's saying. Why would the Milky Way be a "tattered streamer"?

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

tatter /ˈtætə/ vb
  • to make or become ragged or worn to shreds
  • (plural) torn or ragged pieces, esp of material
Thank you in advance.
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    We inhabit an outer spiral arm of the Milky Way. If you look at the night sky, you will see this as an irregular band of stars stretching from horizon to horizon.

    'Tattered' indicates that it is irregular, particularly at its edges.

    'Streamer' that it is a long band/banner.

    'Stardust' is figurative for the billions of points of light that are the stars.

    'as of yore' has its natural meaning.
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