The Milky Way is a fuzzy band of light that stretches across our night sky. In different traditional mythologies around the world, it's a river, or a fence, or a path, or a way for animals like dogs, birds, elephants, cows, and others. In reality, it's a dense band of stars that marks the direction to the center of our home galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy.
Our galaxy is one of over 170 billion galaxies in the universe, which range in size from 3,000 to 300,000 light years wide. The size of the Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light years wide with about 200 billion stars, arranged in two main spiral arms off a large central bar. The Milky Way has satellite galaxies called the Large Magellanic Cloud, Small Magellanic Cloud, and several other dwarf galaxies of less than 1,000 light years wide.
In the articles below, learn more about the Milky Way galaxy, where our Solar System is within the Milky Way, other nearby galaxies like Andromeda, where the Milky Way is within our Local Group of galaxies within the Virgo Supercluster, galaxies in general, and some famous astronomers.