Guess what?Only three galaxies outside of the Milky Way can be seen by the unaided eye here on Earth. People in the Northern Hemisphere can see the Andromeda Nebula while people in the Southern Hemisphere can see the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.
Our Sun is a star in the Milky Way Galaxy. If you were looking down on the
Milky Way, it would look like a large pinwheel rotating in space. Our Galaxy
is a spiral galaxy that formed approximately 14 billion years ago. Contained
in the Milky Way are stars, clouds of dust and gas called nebulae, planets, and
asteroids. Stars, dust, and gas fan out from the center of the Galaxy in long
spiraling arms. The Milky Way is approximately 100,000 light-years in diameter.
Our solar system is 26,000 light-years from the center of the Galaxy. All
objects in the Galaxy revolve around the Galaxy's center. It takes 250 million
years for our Sun to pull us through one revolution around the center of the
Milky Way. The stars we see over our head every night are also members of the
Milky Way family.
It is interesting to note that astronomers capitalize the "G" in galaxy when talking about our Milky Way!
A QuestionThe Milky Way is classified as what type of galaxy?
Did you know?
|Show me the Level 1 version of this page.|
The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC.
StarChild Authors: The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Responsible NASA Official:
If you have comments or questions about the StarChild site, please send them to us.