Check out these amazing facts about our massive galaxy, the Milky Way!
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The Milky Way galaxy, is an incredible 13 billion year old formation of billions of stars and planets, along with moons, asteroids, comets and plenty of other fascinating things. All of this celestial beauty spans an estimated area of around 120,000 light years and most importantly to us, is the birth place of humanity. So let’s look at 5 incredible facts about the this mighty system we call the Milky Way galaxy.
Exoplanets are planets beyond our solar system and scientist know they come in all kinds of sizes, but the most interesting ones are those that are found orbiting a star within the habitual zone. The galaxy that we exist within, according to NASA is estimated to have tens of billions of these types of planets, And even more exciting is that many of them could be small, rocky Earth like planets that might harbour life similar to ours.
Our entire solar system orbits around the sun in some way, But the Sun, orbits around the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, which is so massive, that it takes an estimated 250 million years for us to make one complete orbit and this is known as a galactic year or cosmic year. Some studies have even suggested that because of this consistent movement around the galaxies centre, our solar system might periodical run in to some life destroying situations, like massive asteroids or comets being forced in to a collusion course with the inner planets.
The milky way is a barred spiral galaxy that spans an area of 120,000 light years across, with a central bulge of about 12,000 light years thick. But if you could see the entire galaxy from a side view, you would notice that it is actually warped in shape. Scientists believe that this warping is actually caused by the milky ways two neighbouring galaxy’s, the large and small Magellanic Clouds. This pair of smaller orbiting galaxies are known as “satellites” and appear to be interacting with the milky ways mysterious dark matter, resulting in this magnificent warped spiral effect.
Our galaxy is a galactic cannibal, because it has gained its massive size by eating up other small galaxies over billions of years. Within the far reaches of the milky ways shell, studies suggest that left over stars from previous acts of galactic cannibalism can even be found. and currently, The Canis Major dwarf galaxy, which is the closest to us is being added to the milky ways disk. This kind of galactic cannibalism is thought to occur because of tidal gravitational interactions, resulting in two galaxy’s colliding and becoming one. Astronomers have also estimated that the two spiral galaxy’s, the Milky Way and Andromeda will collide in around 4.5 million years, resulting in one massive elliptical galaxy.
Much Like other large galaxies the Milky Way has a super massive black hole churning away at its galactic centre, around 26,000 light years from Earth. The black hole that lurks here is believed to be 14 million miles across and was detected by a massive source of radio waves. Observations of nearby galaxies have revealed that super massive black holes are not uncommonly found within galactic centres, but the formation of such large black holes and how they affect the evolution of galaxies is still not fully understood.
Fleeting Light – Geminid Meteor Shower-Henry Jun Wah Lee Evosia
Flying Up Close to Sun – Jason Fletcher
Blackhole – Aimei Kutt
Music – Bensound – Slow Motion
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