Milky Way

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The Milky Way galaxy as seen from the Earth.

The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy. It is the galaxy that we live in and it has a diameter of 200,000 light years.[1]

Location of the Solar System[edit]

The Solar System lies in the Orion-Cygnus arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Unlike other spiral galaxies, the Milky Way has two main arms. The Orion-Cygnus arm lies along one of those arms. At the center of the Milky Way galaxy lies a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*.

Properties and Future[edit]

Hubble's classification of galaxies, with the Milky Way for comparison.

The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy of type SBc on Hubble's classification of galaxies. The Milky Way has several satellite galaxies orbiting it, including the Magellanic Clouds, each discovered by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan. The nearest non-satellite galaxy to the Milky Way is the Andromeda Galaxy, an even larger galaxy at 220,000 light years across. The second nearest non-satellite galaxy is the Triangulum Galaxy. All three major galaxies are expected to collide with each other in 4 billion years.


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