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Milky Way

Milky Way

The galaxy we live in is a mystery to many of us. Sure, everyone knows a few facts here and there, but I can guarantee you that there is quite a bit more to know. In that spirit, Universe Today has compiled a list of links to informative articles about the Milky Way. We also thought that you might to enjoy a few quick and occasionally quirky facts about the spiral galaxy that we inhabit.

Galileo Galilei is credited with discovering the Milky Way shortly after building his first telescope.

Scientists have tried to date the Milky Way and have only been nominally successful. The closest estimate is somewhere between 10 and 13.6 billion years.

Just like many other galaxies, the center of the Milky Way is a supermassive black hole named Sagittarius A*. It is 26,000 light years away from Earth and measures 22.5 million km across. The entire galaxy is 120,000 light years in diameter.

Have you ever looked towards the heavens and wondered how many stars there are? What can be seen from Earth is only a miniscule fraction of the total number of stars in our galaxy. The best estimate that science can make is that there is somewhere between 200 and 400 billion stars in the Milky Way alone.

Those are just a few of the interesting facts, figures, and images that you will find among the links below.


Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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