15 Things About the Milky Way

Out of all the innumerable galaxies in the vast universe, our solar system, specifically our planet Earth, is situated in the spiral galaxy we call the Milky Way. It’s nearly impossible for us to fathom what are the things that we need to know about our home galaxy, but as time goes by, we get to learn new things in fascinating degrees about it.

1.We’re still not sure about the number of stars in the Milky Way

Astronomical and gargantuan are undoubtedly understatements to describe how big our galaxy is, and counting from the biggest to the tiniest star alone might be impossible. However, it’s estimated to be around 100 billion.

2.Its name came from a Greek mythology

Guess we need to give the famous mythology the credit in naming this universal entity. Well, the story tells that Zeus sneaked his son, Hercules, to an asleep Hera, for the baby to breastfeed. However, when the sleeping mother woke up, she pulled away, prompting her breastmilk to scatter into places, creating the Milky Way.

3.Milky Weigh

Estimation is the only thing we could do, and according to Far & Wide, the known galaxy weighs around 1.5 trillion units, which is equivalent to the weight of 890 billion suns.

4.The spiral galaxy is not that big

In comparison to another galaxy in the Virgo Supercluster, the M87 is another degree. It houses several trillion stars, while ours is just about 100 billion. We might be comparing the Moon to the Sun.

5.Planets and Stars

It’s common knowledge for people to name the planets in the solar system. However, the planets in the Milky Way are around the same number as the stars — usually one planet per star.

6.Around the same age

According to scientists, our home galaxy is as old as the universe. The former is around 13.6 million years old, while the latter is 13.7 billion.

7.Nothing lasts forever?

Several years from now, the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy will collide, forming a new mega galaxy, but don’t you worry, Earth’s survival after the collision is very high.

8.What’s on the inside?

According to National Geographic, the Milky Way has a massive black hole in its center, weighing over four million times the Sun.

9.It’s a very long ride ahead.

Electricity travels similar to the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second. Our solar system, on the other hand, moves in the spiral galaxy at an average speed of 515,000 mph. It’s incredibly fast, but not really, as it would still take about 230 million years to travel around the Milky Way.

10.The commoners

The common star in our galaxy is the red dwarf, which is one-tenth the sun’s mass.

11.Another estimation

A number of scientists who made investment in astronomy believe that there are about 100 billion galaxies in the vast universe.

12.The sun is still young

We now have the idea about the number of stars in our galaxy, but our 4.5 billion-year-old sun is significantly younger in comparison to over half of the Milky Way’s stars.

13.Milky Way’s neighbors

At least 60 galaxies, according to scientists, are orbiting our Milky Way. However, this number might change as there may be more to discover.

14.Crossing the Milky Way

Far & Wide suggested that our galaxy has a diameter of around 1.9 million light years, which is far from what was formerly believed — 170,000 light-years.

15.The lucky ones

Our home galaxy has a comparatively weak surface brightness, meaning moonlight or light pollution can significantly affect the degree of Milky Way’s visibility. Consequently, over a third of Earth’s population is unable to get a glimpse of its beauty from their houses because of these factors.

Photo Sources:

Cover Photo – Pixabay
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