The galaxy we live in is immense and has a lot of secrets. Its diameter is 120,000-180,000 light-years and it is Earth’s home, humanity’s birthplace. Milky Way Galaxy facts are discovered throughout time by scientists and experts in the field of astrology. The Solar System we are part of is about 27,000 light-years far from the center of the galaxy, situated on the Orion Arm, a spiral concentration of dust and gas particles. Interesting Milky Way facts are inspiring and impress us.
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10. It Contains About 400 Billion Stars
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Facts about the Milky Way Galaxy show that it is a middleweight galaxy, as the biggest known galaxy has over 100 trillion stars. For example, the Large Magellanic Cloud has 10 billion stars, while our galaxy has about 400 billion stars, but we can only see about 2,500. About seven new stars are produced per year and the galaxy is also losing starts through supernovae.
9. It Has A Halo
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Amongst other interesting Milky Way facts is that it has a halo that we can’t see directly. Astrology experts believe that our galaxy is 90% dark matter giving it a mysterious halo. Therefore, what we can see with a telescope or with our eyes is only 10% of the galaxy, the luminous matter. The halo is actually invisible but has been discovered during simulation of how the galaxy would appear. It would not be possible without the invisible matter.
8. Milky Way Galaxy Is Warped
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This 120,000 light years disk with a bulge having 12,000 light years diameter is not perfectly flat. This is another of the unknown Milky Way Galaxy facts, that it has a warped shape, believed by astronomers is due to our two neighbor galaxies, the Small and Large Magellanic clouds. The two galaxies are part of the Local Group of galaxies and are orbiting ours. It is believed that the dwarf galaxies are pulling out the dark matter from our galaxy and creates some oscillating frequencies pulled on the huge hydrogen gas containment.
7. Pictures Of The Milky Way Are Not Real
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Facts about the Milky Way galaxy tell us that all pictures found online of our galaxy are not real as we can’t take a picture from the above, yet. Imagine that we are about 27,000 light years far from the center of the galaxy, inside the galactic disk. Try to take a picture of your house seen from above, from the inside. Pictures that you find are either rendering of talented artists or of other spiral galaxies.
6. Milky Way Was Made Of Other Galaxies
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This warped, beautiful spiral wasn’t always like this. Milky Way galaxy facts show that it came to its current shape and size by eating other galaxies, and it still does this. The closest galaxy to ours is Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy and the reason for which it is so close is that Milky Way is adding its stars to our disk. For example, the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy was consumed by Milky Way.
5. It Is Full Of Gas And Dust
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Common people would not be able to observe such interesting Milky Way facts, but the galaxy is full of gas and dust, this being the 10-15% of the visible matter, the rest of it being stars. The visible spectrum of the disk is only 6,000 light years from the total of 100,000 light years diameter. However, of the pollution is not so high as we can discern the dusty ring of Milky Way in the night sky.
4. It Is Moving
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Still, there are well-known facts about the Milky Way galaxy. It is moving through space, as everything else. Milky Way, as part of the Local Group, is moving to the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (left behind the Big Bang), while the Sun is moving around Milky Way and Earth around the Sun. The Local Group is moving with about 600km/s to the CMB.
3. We Are Part Of The Virgo Supercluster
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Interesting Milky Way facts show that we are part of a larger galactic structure, known as the Virgo Supercluster, alongside the two Magellanic Clouds, Andromeda Galaxy and other 50 galaxies. So, the Local Group is only a small part of the Virgo Supercluster. This type of galaxies has a diameter of hundreds of millions of light years.
2. It Is As Old As The Universe
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The latest Milky Way facts show that it was found about 13.6 billion years ago, while the Universe is about 13.7 billion years old. The age of our galaxy is determined by the age of our oldest stars found in globular clusters, by extrapolating the age of what was before them. Still, the bulge and the disk formed about 10 or 12 billion years ago. The rest of the galaxy was formed later.
1. A Black Hole In The Center
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Another one of the facts about the Milky Way galaxy is that it has a black hole at the center of it. All galaxies have a super massive black hole in the center, ours is called the Sagittarius A*. This black hole is a powerful radio waves source with over 22.5 million kilometers diameter, just about the same size of the orbit of Mercury.
Milky Way galaxy facts talk about its size, its age and other aspects of the galaxy. Seen from above it takes parts of the Sagittarius and Scutum-Centaurus arms, across the Perseus Arm to Cygnus constellation and across the central bar. The center of the galaxy is mainly obscured by the interstellar dust.