The Milky Way is more than just planets, moons and the sun.
How much do you know about the city you live in? Do you know about all the attractions and restaurants? It is unlikely that you know every nook and corner of the city. The same stands true for the galaxy you live in – the Milky Way.
Our galaxy is a magnificent place full of energy, stars, dark matter, supernovas and more. However, some parts of it remain mysterious even to the scientists spending years studying it.
But today we take you a step closer to learning about our celestial home. Below are some fascinating facts about the Milky Way.
- It is home to 200 billion stars
A medium-sized galaxy, the Milky Way has over 200 billion stars. The largest galaxy known is IC 1101 that has over 100 trillion stars. When you look up to the sky you can see nearly 2,500 stars from any one point on the globe.
- The Milky Way has a black hole in the centre
The Milky Way has a huge black hole in the centre called Sagittarius A*, like most large galaxies. It is an estimated 14 million miles in diameter. However, this number does not include the mass trying to get into the black hole, called the accretion disk.
- We can’t photograph it
We are located nearly 26,000 light-years from the centre of the Milky Way. Therefore, we cannot take any pictures of it. If you have come across any representation or pictures of our galaxy, it is either the vision of the galaxy to an artist or a different spiral galaxy.
- It is full of dust and gas
Dust and gas make up about 10 to 15% of the visible matter of the Milky Way, while the rest being stars. Our galaxy is roughly 100,000 light-years with humans, in the visible spectrum, being able to see only 6,000 light-years into the disk. Nevertheless, the dusty ring of the Milky Way can be visible on a clear night sky.
- Made up of other galaxies
Through our galaxy’s history, it has consumed other galaxies to achieve its current shape and size. Currently, the Milky Way is consuming the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy by adding the stars of the small galaxy to its own spiral.
Do you now feel closer to knowing more about the Milky Way?