The Milky Way Our solar system is located in outer range of The Milky Way. The Milky way is a spiral galaxy; the most common type. Spiral galaxies are the most interesting type. There are many other types of galaxies including whirlpool, barred, elliptical, and irregular galaxies.
Spiral Galaxies Spiral galaxies are the most common type. If you can clearly see the spiral shape, the galaxy is called a "face-on spiral." If you instead see the galaxy from the side, it is called an "edge-on spiral." You can recognize edge-on spiral galaxies because you can see their bright central bulges. Face-on and edge-on spiral galaxies aren't really any different; they only look different because of the angle from which you see them.
Spiral Galaxies continued Some spiral galaxies have arms that are wound tightly, while other galaxies have very loosely-wound arms. The difference between tightly and loosely wound spirals is a genuine difference between the galaxies, and can be used to classify spirals. About 77% of the observed galaxies in the universe are spiral galaxies. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is a typical spiral galaxy.
Whirlpool Galaxies M51a is a whirlpool galaxy, it is one of the most famous galaxies in the sky. M51a was discovered by Charles Messier in 1774. There is a “companion” galaxy beside M51a named M51b. M51b was discovered by Pierre Mechain. The two are about 23 million light years away from each other.
Barred Galaxies Barred galaxies are a type of disk galaxy with spiral arms extending from an almost rectangular shape of stars across its central regions, which can account for up to one-third of the galaxy's total light output. Many barred galaxies show a narrow ring of stars near the outer end of the bars. NGC 1365 is one of the most prominent barred galaxies in that we know of. It is a supergiant galaxy with a diameter of 200,000 light years.
Elliptical Galaxies Elliptical galaxies are basically the center without disks around it. They range from sphere shaped to football shaped. Elliptical galaxies contain up to a trillion stars, but most of them are very old stars The universe's largest known galaxies are elliptical galaxies, which could be as big as two million light-years long. Elliptical galaxies may also be small, in which case they are dwarf elliptical galaxies.
Irregular Galaxies Galaxies that are not spiral or elliptical are called irregular galaxies. Irregular galaxies appear misshapen and don’t have a distinct form, often because they are within the gravitational influence of other galaxies close by.
Other Facts about the Milky Way In a few billion years the Milky Way may merge with the neighboring galaxy Andromeda to form a elliptical galaxy. In fact, the Sun will still be around when this happens; it won’t have become a red giant. The Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way. The Milky Way is gradually consuming it by pulling in its stars. But it will be few billion years before it is entirely swallowed up. In the center of galaxies including our own, there is a supper massive black hole. when you look up at the night sky you can only see 0.000003% of the Milky Way
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