Guide to the Milky Way Galaxy

The Milky Way GalaxyThe 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.

Latest Articles on Milky Way
Inside the Milky Way: Where is Earth's position?

Where are we? That’s a question many people today can quickly answer by using a GPS device. But where is the Earth? More precisely, where in the Milky Way galaxy is the...

A Gallery of Hauntingly Beautiful Deep Space Images

The Hubble Space Telescope has given us spectacular images of deep space objects that not only have expanded our knowledge of the Universe but shown us its beauty. Here are a few of...

Size of Solar System vs. Size of Our Galaxy

Size is relative. How big is big? Well, if you have to travel from New York to Hong Kong that’s a pretty long trip, but it pales in comparison if you had to travel across...

Gallery Across the Cosmos - Striking Galaxy Images

The Universe is incredibly large. Vast empty stretches of space are dotted with a wide array of galaxies -- huge cities of stars, each containing hundreds of billions of suns. Take...

Most Popular Articles on Milky Way
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    Inside the Milky Way: Where is Earth's position?

    Where are we? That’s a question many people today can quickly answer by using a GPS device. But where is the Earth? More precisely, where in the Milky Way galaxy is the Earth and our Solar...

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    Size of Solar System vs. Size of Our Galaxy

    Size is relative. How big is big? Well, if you have to travel from New York to Hong Kong that’s a pretty long trip, but it pales in comparison if you had to travel across the Solar System. The...

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    Explaining The Universe To Children

    The universe is a big place and can be confusing to young children when explained. Here are some tips on how you can explain to them what all those stars are about....

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    A List of Galaxy Names

    We've all heard of the Milky Way galaxy. But what exactly is a galaxy? Learn this facts as well as a list of galaxy names beyond the Milky Way....

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    Amazing Facts About The Constellation Sagittarius

    The ninth sign of the zodiac, the constellation Sagittarius is commonly known as the teapot constellation because the arrangement of stars look like a teapot to the modern observers. However, the mythological...

More About Milky Way
A Description of Our Milky Way - a Spiral Galaxy

It is easy to "miss the forest for the trees." Let's consider the forest in which Earth is located—our own galaxy—the Milky Way. What is the structure of the...

Survey of Our Nearest Galaxies

It is good to know, in general, what's around you...so it might be informative to know what is near us in space--what may cannibalize us, what the Milky Way may have already cannibalized...