Milky Way a journey beyond

Milky way's age is 13.21 billion years. The milky way has 100-400 billion stars. The milky way got its name from a Greek myth. In other parts of the world the milky way has different names: In China it is called the silver river and in the Kalahari desert in south Africa, it's called The Backbone of night. Other names for the milky way are: Bird's path, Road to Santiago, river of heaven, straw way, Walsing ham way and winter street.

The milky way is our home galaxy in the universe. It is fairly typical barred spiral with four major arms in its disk, at least one spur, and a newly discovered outer arm. The galactic centre, which is located about 26,000 lights per year from Earth, contains at least one super massive black hole (called Sagittarius A) and is crossed by a bar.

Up until 1920, most astronomers believed that all of the stars in the universe were contained inside the milky way. The oldest star in the galaxy is HD 140283, also known as the Methuselah star and it is at least 13.6 billion years old. The milky way is moving through space at a rate of 600 km per second and will collide with the Andromeda Galaxy, around 3.75 billion yrs.

The milky way is known as the barred spiral galaxy- it's shaped like a spiral with a straight bar across its centre. 2/3 of the galaxies in known universe are spirals, and about 2/3 of the spiral galaxies are barred, making the milky way a most common galaxy. Our solar system is perched in the centre of the Orion arm. The Orion arm was once considered a "spur," a minor protrusion compared to major arms like the Perseus arm and the Carina-Sagittarius Arm.

The milky way began as a series of dense regions in the early universe not long after the Big Bang. The first stars to form were in globular clusters that still exist. They are among the oldest stars formed in the milky way region. The milky way has grown by merging with other galaxies through time. It is currently holding some stars from a very small galaxy called the Sagittarius dwarf Spheroidal, as well as gobbling up material from the Magellanic clouds.

Surrounding the galactic disk, is a Spheroidal halo of old stars- 90% of which lie within 100,000 lights per year of the Galactic centre. The milky way and the Andromeda galaxy are part of a Binary system of giant spiral galaxies belonging to a group of 50 closely bound galaxies called the local group.


Created with images by Max and Dee - "Milky Way over Colorado" • skeeze - "milky way andromeda stars" • RenoVal - "The Milky Way Panorama" • Kiwi Tom - "Milky way over Raglan" • marc87 - "milky way stars galaxy"

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