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Milky Way Galaxy

The Milky Way seen in the night sky Every star you see in the night sky is part of the Milky Way Galaxy (although on a clear night, you can glimpse one or two galaxies that lie beyond the Milky Way). The Milky Way Galaxy, the galaxy to which our own star, the Sun, belongs, is a vast, disc-like spiral of stars. It closely resembles the Andromeda Galaxy, which lies 2.25 million light years away. Named after the misty band of stars in the night sky—actually our side-on view of one of its spiral arms—it contains about 200 billion stars and measures about 100,000 light years across. It spins at 250 km/sec (150 miles/sec), taking more than 200 million years to complete one full circle.


The Milky Way Galaxy
The Milky Way Galaxy seen side-on

Side-on view

Seen from the side, the Milky Way Galaxy looks like a pair of fried eggs stuck together back-to-back. The “yolks” form the nucleus, while the “whites” form the spiral-shaped disc surrounding it. 

It takes the Galaxy more than 200 million years to complete one full circle.

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