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INFORMATION VINE * 50 Fascinating Facts About Our Galaxy And Beyond *.

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INFORMATION VINE * 50 Fascinating Facts About Our Galaxy And Beyond *. Empty INFORMATION VINE * 50 Fascinating Facts About Our Galaxy And Beyond *.

Post by Paul Wed 10 Jan 2024, 7:55 am

50 Fascinating Facts About Our Galaxy And Beyond



INFORMATION VINE * 50 Fascinating Facts About Our Galaxy And Beyond *. 34dc7d3869b4edf4efb6a1937458a533
Photo Courtesy: [Chad Powell/Barcroft Media/Getty Images]
To this day, there is much that we don't know about our galaxy and we know even less about the galaxies further away. However, for many, this is a topic they love to study and theorize about. When you really start to understand how big the universe really is, you can put in perspective how small we truly are on this one little planet called Earth. Check out these crazy facts about our galaxy and beyond and see if you still view yourself in the same way. 





The Chinese call the Milky Way The Silver River


The Milky Way is known by another name in China, it is called The Silver River by the Chinese, and is even a part of ancient Chinese mythology. The Chinese believe that the Milky Way made its way to the heavens with the aid of the gods who were attempting to alienate a herdsman that had fallen in love with a cloth weaver from his lover. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Costfoto/Barcroft Media/Getty Images]


Chinese mythology also says the sky king was creating heaven when he asked the seventh princess to weave mists and the clouds.


The Milky Way was Called Milk by Romans


The Romans had a peculiar name for the Milky Way as it reminded them of milk. They called it Via Lactea which translates to the road of milk, a name not dissimilar to its original name. 


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The reason the name the Romans coined for the Milky Way is so similar to the original is the fact that galaxy is the Greek word for Milk. The Romans thought the Milky Way looked similar to a portion of the sky that appeared above the earth at night.


The Milky Way in Sanskrit


The Milky Way is known as Akash Ganga which translates to The Ganges of the Heavens. The Milky Way differs from other galaxies because other galaxies can only be seen through a telescope as they are further away. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Sanka Vidanagama/NurPhoto/Getty Images]


It is estimated to contain 100 billion stars and it represents the stars seen with the naked eye at night. In addition to the Milky Way, billions of galaxies make up the universe.


The Milky Way gives off Visible Light


The Milky Way provides a lot of benefits for the universe, one of them is light that we all see which is produced in the Milky Way, as a form of energy that’s produced by the objects and stars in the Milky Way. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Idrees Abbas/SOPA Images/Getty Images]


Light isn’t the only form of energy produced there either, as dark matter, infrared light, gamma rays, X-rays, and radio waves are all produced in the Milky Way as well.


The Milky Way contains hundreds of billions of stars


Our galaxy is called the Milky Way Galaxy because its spiral shape is the same color as milk when seen with a naked eye. All the stars you see at night are indeed part of the Milky Way itself, making it seem like a road you can follow.


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Photo Courtesy: [Sanka Vidanagama/NurPhoto/Getty Images]


Surprisingly, when a human goes out at night and sees the Milky Way, they can only see a small and insignificant percentage of the stars that make up the galaxy. Only 0.0000025% of the Milky Way’s stars can be seen at night.


Greek Mythology linked Heracles and Hera to the Milky Way


The Milky Way is a part of myths and folklore in different cultures across the world. In Greece, ancient mythology tells us that the Milky Way came to be as a result of an accidental spill by Hera who spilled milk while breastfeeding Heracles. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images]


Hera was taken back upon finding Hercules, who wasn’t her son, suckling her breast, therefore spilling the milk. The ancient Greeks also believe the Milky Way is the path to Mount Olympus, also referred to as the path of ruin.


The center of the Milky Way is a black hole


The center of the Milky Way is also known as the Galactic Center. It is the barycenter or the rotational center and it has a very strong gravitational pull that is believed to be a black hole, scientists named it the Sagittarius A.


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This Galactic Center is believed to be as heavy as 4 million suns combined. It gives life to the Sagittarius A, a compact radio source.


 The Milky Way is one of several billion galaxies


The Milky Way is basically a big group of dust, stars, and gas, these particles are held together by the pull of gravitation. The Milky Way Galaxy is a spiral system that has hundreds of billions of stars including the Sun.  


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Photo Courtesy: [NASA/WireImage/Getty Images]


The mass of the Milky Way’s solar masses is hard to predict but it is believed to contain 100 billion solar masses, but other predictions have it at between 400 to 700 billion solar masses.


The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy


A spiral galaxy is what the Milky Way is sometimes known as. Its arms are curved and they stretch out from the middle. 


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Scientists believe this spiraled center has a bar shape and is not a regular spiral galaxy shape. Its diameter is gigantic, as it is 100,000 to 120,000 light-years old, don't even try to think about how old that is. 


Objects speed around the Milky Way at 600,000 mph


Objects move around the Milky Way at incredible speeds, hitting as much as 600,000 mph in some cases. If moving around the Milky Way takes a lot of energy, leaving the Milky Way requires a lot more, so objects must pick up speed when entering and then again when leaving.


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Photo Courtesy: [DAVID BECKER/AFP/Getty Images]


Stars have to move at 1,600,000 mph to leave the Milky Way. Scientists have found 18 giant blue stars that left the galaxy at the required speed. The reason for their ejection remains unclear to astronomers and scientists.


The Milky Way is part of the Local Group of galaxies


There is a group of galaxies called the Local Group. The Milky Way is a part of this 40-galaxy group which is also a part of another group called the Local Supercluster. The Local Supercluster comprises of the Milky Way’s Local group as well as a number of other clusters of galaxies.  


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The local supercluster groups aren’t close to each other either, as they are approximately 10 million light-years apart. No less than one hundred groups of galaxies can be found in the Local Supercluster’s 33 megaparsecs diameter.


The Milky Way travels at 343 miles per second


The pace with which the Milky Way travels through space is estimated to be 343 miles per second. This is linked to the background radiation of the Cosmic Microwave. In the central core of the Milky Way is a gigantic black hole called Sagittarius A. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Heritage Space/Heritage Images/Getty Images]


This hole has a bar that crosses it and the galactic center is about 26,000 light-years away from the Earth. The Milky Way is thought to have been formed around 12 billion years ago.


Ancient Greeks saw the Milky Way as a road to Mount Olympus


The Milky Way was interpreted and viewed differently by ancient cultures across the world. It was a big part of ancient Greek mythology as the ancient Greeks held the belief that the Milky Way was a path to Mount Olympus. 


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They also believe that the Milky Way is simply scattered ruins left behind by Helios, the Sun God’s chariot. Helios’s chariot left the ruins behind and they formed the Milky Way. Democritus, a Greek thinker in ancient times stated that the Milky Way was made up of stars, but no one believed him as they liked to think the gods had something to do with it. 


The Milky Way’s Stars were confirmed by Galileo Galilei


After Greek philosopher Democritus claimed that the Milky Way had stars, his claim was unconfirmed until Galileo Galilei came into the picture. Galilei was the one that verified the claim made by Democritus with his telescope. 


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He saw that there was indeed a band of light that includes the Silver River and the Milky Circle. With his telescope, Galilei also saw that the light from the Milky Way came from a number of separate stars.


The Milky Way is on a collision course with Andromeda


The Milky Way isn’t the only galaxy out there, as there are reportedly around 100 billion galaxies in the galactic center. Andromeda is one of those galaxies and it is the galaxy that is on a collision course with the Milky Way. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Tobias Roetsch/Future Publishing/Getty Images]


The Milky Way and Andromeda have been traveling in each other’s direction at 250,000 miles per hour. At this speed, the collision of the two galaxies is set to happen in 5 billion years.


Explosions happen in the Milky Way


The Milky Way’s tranquility is broken from time to time though we may never see it. A gigantic explosion occurs in the Milky Way approximately once every two centuries. The calculation for these occasional explosions was arrived at with the aluminum-26 isotope mapping technique. 


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Photo Courtesy: [NASA/ESAvia/Getty Images]


The rare Aluminium-26 isotope can’t be found easily because it is mostly discovered in regions where a star is born or dies. 3.5 million years ago, a huge explosion happened in the Milky Way and its remnants are still visible today.


The Milky Way has a Hydrogen bulge


In the center of the Milky Way, a thick bulge is noticeable. This bulge came to be as a result of hydrogen, and its spread reaches across the two sides of the two-dimensional plane. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Heritage Space/Heritage Images/Getty Images]


The Milky Way’s center hydrogen bulge is so large in fact that it has a 10,000 light-years distance between its top and bottom points.


The Milky Way has 150 old groups of stars for company


The Milky Way has around 150 groups of stars around it. These groups of stars are quite old and they are situated right in the halo and orbit portions of the Milky Way’s galactic center. 


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Photo Courtesy: [CORBIS/Corbis/Getty Images]


Right beside the Milky Way are some of the oldest stars, groups, and clusters of stars in the entire universe. These groups of stars have orange and yellow hues that signify their significant stellar densities. They are as old as the oldest stars in the universe.


There are Hydrogen gas clouds in the Milky Way’s core


The Milky Way’s gigantic core is reportedly home to around 100 hydrogen gas clouds. These gas clouds are believed to be running around the core of the Milky Way at a significant speed of 738,000 miles per hour. 


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Photo Courtesy: [VW Pics/Universal Images Group/Getty Images]


The observation of the presence of these hydrogen clouds was made with the Green Bank Telescope, the world’s first single-dish radio telescope. This telescope supports cutting-edge studies at the wavelength of radio and also provides access to advanced instruments.


The spiral of the Milky Way has a lot of stars


The Milky Way’s spiral reportedly contains so many stars that their number equals the total number of stars that can be found everywhere else in the universe. The major difference that exists is that the stars in the Milky Way’s spiral happen to be significantly bigger than the ones elsewhere, and also live shorter because they burn brighter and die quickly as a result.  


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Photo Courtesy: [Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images]


The arms in the spiral are also quite visible because they are made brighter by the illumination from the spiral’s stars.


The oldest star is 13.6 billion years old


The galactic home houses the galaxy’s oldest star that’s estimated to be around 13.6 billion years old. It is believed that this star was created shortly after the Big Bang happened and it is part of a group of stars called the Population stars. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images]


This star and others in its group are mostly comprised of hydrogen and helium, the two elements created by the Big Bang. These stars were born approximately 180 million years after the Big Bang.


The Milky Way’s interstellar medium is thinner than our solar system’s


The planets and our solar system have a dense space between them due to the existence of solar wind particles. Though this density is relatively high, it is still significantly lower than the density of air on earth. Air density on Earth is approximately 10 million atoms per cubic meter. 


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Photo Courtesy: [DE AGOSTINI PICTURE LIBRARY/Contributor/Getty Images]


The Milky Way’s interstellar medium is also not as thick as the one in the Earth’s solar system. The gravity of the galaxy is what keeps gas and dust close at approximately 10,000 atoms per cubic meter.


The Milky Way’s speed of rotation is 168 miles per second


The Milky Way rotates quite briskly in space at a pace of 168 miles per second. The Milky Way’s mass of planets, stars, gas, and objects all spin and move about.  


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Photo Courtesy: [VW Pics/Universal Images Group/Getty Images]


It takes roughly 200 million years for the rotation of the Milky Way to be completed. As a result of this quick rotation of the solar system, a person’s location only 60 minutes ago would be roughly 600,000 miles away.


90% of the Milky Way’s Mass is dark matter


Over 90% of the Milky Way’s mass is made up of a halo of dark matter. The presence of this much dark matter is the reason why despite the use of telescopes, no more than 10% of our galaxy’s mass can be seen upon inspection. 


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Photo Courtesy: [NASA/JPL-Caltech/Getty Images]


The shrouding of the Milky Way by dark matter goes far into space and astronomers believe the amount of the universe’s dark matter exceeds the visible matter in the universe five-fold. 


The Spiral Arm of the Milky Way contains new stars


The Milky Way’s center is home to lots of stars that are mostly ancient, however, its spiral arms are full of newborn stars. Humans don’t get to see the large group of stars that surround the galaxy because we are inside the Milky Way. 


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Photo Courtesy: [QAI Publishing/Universal Images Group/Getty Images]


One of the spiral arms of the Earth even breaks out at an awkward angle and extends from the Sagittarius Arm to the galaxy of the Milky Way. The spiral arm’s orientation is so dramatic that it is the first of its kind to be identified.


There are about 400 billion stars in the Milky Way


The Milky Way is believed to contain about 400 billion stars in total and approximately 400 billion planets as well, scientists believe this through years of studies. The IC 1101 is the largest known galaxy, and it is known to have 100 trillion stars. 


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Photo Courtesy: [YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images]


Galaxies like the Large Magellanic Cloud are smaller so they contain only about 10 billion stars. As bountiful as the stars are in the Milky Way and surrounding galaxies, humans on earth can only see a tiny portion as we can only see about 2,500.


Last edited by Paul on Wed 10 Jan 2024, 7:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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INFORMATION VINE * 50 Fascinating Facts About Our Galaxy And Beyond *. Empty Re: INFORMATION VINE * 50 Fascinating Facts About Our Galaxy And Beyond *.

Post by Paul Wed 10 Jan 2024, 7:57 am

A rocket needs 100,000 years to cross the galaxy


A rocket traveling at the speed of light would need about 100,000 years to cover the length of the galaxy. This is because the Milky Way galaxy extends 100,000 light-years from edge to edge. Scientists came to this conclusion after scrutinizing the remnants of heavy metals in stars. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images]


They found stars composed of disk stars at locations in the Milky Way that were previously believed to be its boundary, however, these stars are located further away than their previous assumptions believed.


Edwin Hubble is the man that discovered the Milky Way’s shape


Edwin Powell Hubble is the man that is credited for discovering the scope and shape of the Milky Way. His role in the establishment of observational cosmology and extragalactic astronomy fields was huge. 


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Photo Courtesy: [New York Times Co./Contributor/Getty Images]


With his research, Hubble established that several objects are actually galaxies that extend beyond the Milky Way, some of these objects were previously believed to be dust and gas clouds.


The Galaxy Hercules A is 1.5 million light-years across


Galaxies exist in different sizes and diameters, Hercules A is one of the larger galaxies out there as it is 1.5 million light-years across, quite a bit larger than the M87, an elliptical galaxy that has a 980,000 light-year diameter. 


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Our very own Milky Way is significantly smaller than these two galaxies. The Milky Way’s diameter only extends 100,000 light-years and it is also 100,000 light-years thick. Its central bulge on the other hand has a 10,000 light-year diameter.


The solar system orbits the galaxy center at 514,000 miles per hour


The speed with which our solar system orbits the center of the galaxy is 514,000 miles per hour. This speed is relative to the solar system’s galactic center. 


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At that speed, an object would travel all the way around the equator of the earth in only 2 minutes and 54 seconds. The solar system goes around the galaxy once in 250 million years, completing a galactic year takes just about as much time as well. 


The solar system and the Sun’s orbits are fewer than 20


In our solar system, the planets orbit around the sun. The solar system, composed of the comets, moon, planets, and asteroids, also orbit the middle of the Milky Way’s galaxy. The sun and solar system have orbited less than 20 times since the birth of the solar system more than 4.6 billion years ago. 


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Since the origin of humans, only an insignificant revolution has been made by the sun and solar system’s orbits. The planets that orbit around the sun are Venus, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.


There are three kinds of Galaxy shapes


There are three major groups of galaxies despite how different the galaxies are. These groups are the spiral galaxies, the elliptical galaxies, and the irregular galaxies. Their sizes are quite different from each other as some are quite large and others are dwarfish. 


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The dwarf galaxies have as little as 100 million stars in them compared to the bigger galaxies that have north of a trillion stars in them. The galaxies themselves are swarms of approximately several billion or trillion stars.


There are three huge streams of stars around the Milky Way


The Milky Way has three huge streams of stars around it, these streams vary in distance from the Earth, some being as much as 130,000 light-years away while others are only 13,000 light-years away. 


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Scientists and Astronomers believe that these streams of stars are the remnants of clusters of ancient stars that were viciously separated by the gravitational force of the Milky Way.


The Milky Way is consuming the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy


There is a widespread belief held by scientists that the small galaxy known as the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy is slowly being consumed by the Milky Way. This belief is supported by the existence of a black hole that has a mass of 4.1 times that of the Sun. 


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This hole is located in the direction of the Sagittarius constellation and it is believed to be in the process of ripping apart the stars and clusters of that solar system.


The Andromeda galaxy and two others are the closest to the Milky Way


The Milky Way has three galaxies closest to it, they are the Andromeda galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, and the Small Magellanic Cloud. The Small Magellanic Cloud is estimated to be 200,000 light-years away from Earth. 


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The names of these galaxies were derived from the first sailor to go all the way around the globe, his name was Ferdinand Magellan. The Andromeda galaxy is a spiral galaxy estimated to be 2.5 million light-years away from the Earth’s surface.


The Milky Way is 27,000 light-years away from the Sun, Earth, and the solar system


The Milky Way has a galactic center that is significantly far away, it is 27,000 light-years away from the Earth, the Sun, and the remainder of what makes up the solar system. 


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The Milky Way’s galactic system is located on the edge that lies within the Orion Arm, a minor arm of the galaxy. There are stars in the Milky Way’s inner circle that are within 10,000 light-years of the Milky Way and have become a bulge with bars that radiate.


You would need to be thousands of light-years away to capture the entire Galaxy in one Picture


Taking a picture of the entire galaxy is so difficult that it would take a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light thousands of years to get within range of capturing the entire galaxy in one picture. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Getty Images]


Because of this, what is usually found as a picture of the Milky Way is often an interpretation of it by an artist or a picture of a different galaxy entirely.


The Scutum-Centaurus and the Perseus Arm are the two major arms of the Milky Way


There are only two major arms in the Milky Way, and they are the Scutum-Centaurus Arm and the Perseus Arm. The Milky Way has just two arms instead of four as is believed in some quarters. 


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The two arms of the Milky Way protrude from the central bar of stars of the galaxy’s ends. The Orion Spur is a branch of the Sagittarius Arm and it houses the solar system which lies on it.


The solar system’s orbital speed around the Milky Way galaxy is roughly 220km/s


The solar system orbits the Milky Way’s center at a speed that’s roughly 220 km/s. This speed is approximately 0.073% of the speed of light. The biggest spiral of the galaxy spins a lot quicker than previously believed. 


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The length of time it takes the solar system to orbit around the Milky Way is known as a cosmic year. The velocity with which this orbit happens is 828,000 km/hr and that’s why it takes 230 million years to complete one Milky Way orbit.


Seven new stars are born in the Milky Way every year


Scientists believe that seven new stars are formed in the Milky Way every year. They use an isotope of aluminum known as aluminum-26 to carry out studies in the regions around the galaxy where stars are formed. 


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This aluminum isotope itself is formed by explosions caused by gigantic stars known as supernovas. With the aid of the results gathered with aluminum-26, scientists found that huge stars go supernova approximately once in five decades, and seven new stars are formed every year.


The Milky Way has consumed several small galaxies around it


The Milky Way has reportedly consumed multiple galaxies around it that are smaller. The affected galaxies are usually dwarf galaxies that are consumed when matter is pulled away from their Small and Large Magellanic clouds. 


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This discovery was made after scientists found global clusters of stars that are not as metal-rich. The Milky Way is also believed to be in the process of merging with multiple dwarf galaxies. One of the affected galaxies is known as Sagittarius and it is one of the nine that orbit the Milky Way.


The Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Milky Way


There are around 400 billion stars and systems in the Milky Way, though the vast majority of them are far far away from the Earth. The Proxima Centauri is the Earth’s closest neighbor and it is only four light-years away from the surface of the Earth. 


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The Proxima Centauri still isn’t visible from the Earth but it is a part of the Alpha Centauri star system, this system is also the closest to the sun.


The Universe is about a million times bigger than the Earth’s galaxy


Edwin Hubble is the astronomer credited with discovering a method used to measure the distance between galaxies, this method works by measuring the brightness of a star. 


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Photo Courtesy: [NASA/Handout/Getty Images]


With his method, Edwin Hubble proved that the Milky Way isn’t the only galaxy and that there are several other galaxies that exist beyond the Milky Way. Hubble also found out that the Universe is millions of times bigger than the earth’s galaxy.


The universe is only slightly older than the Milky Way


The Milky Way is quite old, scientists see it as one of the oldest of the universe’s galaxies. Astronomers and scientists think the Milky Way was formed approximately 13.6 billion years ago, a number that puts it quite close in age to the universe itself. 


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The universe was formed roughly 13.7 billion years ago. Most galaxies were formed when the universe was young and so they are usually aged between 10 to 13.6 billion years.


The sun has traveled only a third of the way around the Milky Way’s center


In 65 million years, right about the time the last dinosaurs died out, the sun has traveled approximately only a third of the way around the center of the Milky Way. It takes the sun 220 million years to go around the center of the galaxy in circles. 


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In the 4.6 billion years that the sun has existed, it has orbited the center of the galaxy only a little more than 20 times because a full orbit takes the sun between 225 million to 250 million years.


The Milky Way has its own Cherokee legend


The Milky Way has its own place in Cherokee legend, they believe it was created after a dog was sent away after stealing some cornmeal. The dog spilled some of the cornmeal it stole while running away into the northern night sky. 


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It ran to a hilltop and jumped into the sky and every grain of the cornmeal became a star as a result. This is why the Milky Way is referred to as The Place the Dog Ran in Cherokee legend.


The Milky Way’s size is average for a galaxy


Galaxies vary in size with the number of stars that they contain. Dwarf galaxies tend to be a lot smaller and so they contain about 10 billion stars while the bigger galaxies have up to a trillion stars in some cases. 


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The Milky Way is said to be average in size because it has between 100 to 400 billion stars. Supernovas cause the creation of new stars and the destruction of others, and it’s the reason the number of stars in the Milky Way varies so much.


The Virgo Supercluster is centered on Laniakea


The Virgo Supercluster is a lobe located on a bigger supercluster that is located on Laniakea, the Great Attractor. The Laniakea Supercluster is home to roughly 100,000 galaxies and the Milky Way as well. 


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This supercluster stretches out over 160 megaparsecs and its mass is 100,000 times that of the galaxy. It is roughly the same size as the Horologium Supercluster.


The Milky Way is constantly moving


All the objects, clusters, and galaxies in the universe are constantly moving. The Milky Way is no different as it moves just like the Earth rotates around the sun and the Milky Way has the sun moving around it. 


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The Milky Way belongs to the Local Group that moves around according to the Cosmic Microwave Background and moves about at roughly 600 km/s. 


Toxic grease can be found in the Milky Way


The Milky Way is full of toxic grease that moves through all the empty space that exists between the stars in the galaxy. They are really just organic molecules called aliphatic carbon compounds and they are created in specific stars that leak them onto the interstellar space. 


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Photo Courtesy: [NASA/Handout/Getty Images]


These greasy substances are in such abundance in fact, that scientists believe they make up for between a quarter or half of the interstellar carbon of the Milky Way which far exceeds previous estimations.
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