35 Interesting Facts About Milky Way Galaxy

  1. Along with our sun and solar system, the Milky Way Galaxy also contains several hundreds of billions of other stars and planets.
  2. According to a recent scientific estimate, billions of earth-like planets can be present in the Milky Way. (Source)
  3. At the center of the Milky Way, there is an astronomical radio source called Sagittarius A*. It is expected to be a supermassive black hole.
  4. According to estimates, there are around 100 million black holes in the Milky Way Galaxy. After the discovery of a wandering black hole, astronomers think the nearest black hole to Earth is 80 light-years away. (Source)
  5. According to recent findings, the Milky Way Galaxy is present inside a giant hole that helped develop life on earth by protecting it from black holes. This void around the galaxy is nearly two billion years across. (Source)
  6. Milky Way is present in a group of galaxies known as the Local Group. This group contains more than 50 galaxies.
  7. The nearest large galaxy to Milky Way is the Andromeda Galaxy, the largest galaxy in the Local Group (Milky Way is the second-largest galaxy in this group). According to estimates, these galaxies (Milky Way and Andromeda) will collide in around 4 billion years.
  8. Many smaller galaxies in the Local Group are satellites of the Milky Way Galaxy. The biggest of these is the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), nearly 100 times smaller than the Milky Way. 
  9. Milky Way Galaxy is inside a wide halo of hot gas. The mass of this halo is equal to the mass of all the stars in the Milky Way.
  10. The sun is present at a distance of around 8 kiloparsecs (kpc) from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. One parsec is equal to 3.26 light years, while one kpc is equal to 1,000 parsecs. 
  11. Red dwarfs are the most common and longest-living stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Out of the 30 nearest stars around the sun, 20 are red dwarfs. (Source)
  12. The stars can leave Milky Way if they move ten times faster than their current speed. In 2019, a star was moving away from the galaxy at 6m km/h (1,700 km/s) after colliding with a supermassive black hole. This star can exit the Milky Way in 100m years. (Source)
  13. The oldest known star in the Milky Way, WDJ2147-4035, is around 10.7 billion years old. This faint white dwarf is 90 light years away from Earth. (Source)
  14. Milky Way is one of the oldest galaxies in the universe. The estimated age of the Milky Way is 13.6 billion years, slightly less than the estimated age of the universe (13.7 billion years). (Source)
    A galaxy similar to Milky Way Galaxy
    Milky Way Galaxy is 13.6 billion years old

  15. The Milky Way Galaxy is extremely vast. It is more than 100,000 light-years in diameter, while its thickness is around 1,000 light-years. One light-year is about 9.5 trillion km long. It makes the diameter of the Milky Way Galaxy more than 10,000 quadrillion km. 
  16. Milky Way Galaxy is around 100,000 light-years in diameter. Comparatively, the largest known spiral galaxy is NGC 6872, with a diameter of 522,000 light-years. (Source)
  17. If we can travel at the speed of light, then it will take 25,000 years to reach the nearest galaxy of the Milky Way. (Source)
  18. The Milky Way is a galaxy of an average size that spins at a speed of 130 m/s (210 km/s). On the other hand, the largest spiral galaxies spin at 350 m/s (570 km/s). (Source)
  19. According to estimates, seven new stars are born yearly in the Milky Way. Our galaxy has converted around 90% of its initial interstellar gas into stars in the past 10 billion years. A supernova is produced in this galaxy every 50 years.
  20. Like other parts of the universe, the Milky Way also receives mysterious FRBs (fast radio bursts) signals. The first such signal in the Milky Way was spotted in 2020. It can assist in finding the source of these signals. (Source)
  21. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the sun in the Milky Way Galaxy. The distance between the sun and Proxima Centauri is more than four light-years (1 light-year is around 10 trillion km).
  22. It was a widely-accepted belief until 1920 that Milky Way Galaxy is the whole universe. Later in 1923, American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered the universe beyond Milky Way by using Hooker Telescope. 
  23. In April 2018, Gaia (European Space Agency mission) released a detailed map of 1.7 billion stars of the Milky Way Galaxy. This 3-D map uncovers the colors, brightness, distances, and motions of more than 1 billion stars. (Source)
  24. Nearly 7% of around 200 billion stars in the Milky Way are sun-like. According to estimates, more than half of these stars can harbor a habitable planet. (Source)
  25. Currently, a complete picture of the Milky Way is not available. Earth is thousands of light-years away from the center and edge of the galaxy. This disc-like galaxy has a bulge in the center and warping due to the gravity of nearby galaxies. We cannot take a picture from any spacecraft due to the massive size of this galaxy. (Source)
  26. Apart from the central bulge, the Milky Way has four known arms: two major and the other two minor arms. Earth is present in one of the two minor arms, Sagittarius. A new radio telescope has spotted a mystery object, which could be a previously unknown arm of the galaxy. (Source)
  27. Toxic space grease is widespread in the Milky Way. It is a chemically-bond carbon, known as aliphatic. According to a lab test, there are around 100 greasy carbon atoms for every million hydrogen atoms. The estimated amount of this greasy carbon atom in the Milky Way Galaxy is 10 billion trillion trillion tons. (Source)
  28. In most parts of the earth, all the stars seen from the naked eye on a clear night belong to the Milky Way Galaxy.
    Stars of Large Magellanic Cloud Galaxy
    Stars of three other galaxies are visible without telescope

  29. Besides the Milky Way, three more galaxies are visible from the northern and southern hemispheres without a telescope. These include Andromeda Galaxy, LMC (Large Magellanic Cloud), and SMC (Small Magellanic Cloud). (Source)
  30. There are “giant bubbles” at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. These bubbles produce radio waves and are remnants of hot gas because of magnetic eruptions millions of years ago. (Source)
  31. The movement of the Milky Way shows that it is a barred spiral galaxy. These galaxies have stars in the center in the shape of a bar. Around 65% of spiral galaxies have bars. (Source)
  32. The mass of the Milky Way is composed of 4% stars, 12% gas (mainly helium and hydrogen), and 84% dark matter. Dark matter is responsible for holding all the components of the galaxy together through its gravity. (Source)
  33. The sun and the solar system orbit the Milky Way Galaxy in 220 to 230 Earth years. It is known as one galactic year or a cosmic year.
  34. By using the astronomer Frank Drake’s equation, the possible number of alien civilizations in the Milky Way is up to millions. (Source)
  35. There were different strange views about the Milky Way in various mythologies before the advent of scientific exploration. It was considered a blue shark, campfire ashes, and other objects in Greek, Chinese, and other mythologies. (Source)

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