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milky way galaxy | Schematic, face on illustration of the Milky Way galaxy, showing the ...
The Milky Way is our home. An island of stars in a universe of other galaxies. But you might be surprised to learn that astronomers have only known the Milky Way’s true nature for just a century. Let’s learn the history of discoveries about the Milky Way, and what today’s science tells us. And let’s peer into the future to learn the ultimate fate of our galaxy. Click here to download the episode
M58 (NGC 4579) is a barred spiral galaxy appearing within the constellation Virgo. Not much detail shows, but it isn't a bad photo, considering it is approximately 68 million light-years away from Earth. An infrared image taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope.
The Sculptor Galaxy NGC 253. (Image Credit & Copyright: Angus Lau) It was discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783. Although it looked like a fuzzy object to Caroline, it's a nearly edge-on spiral galaxy. Since it has a high rate of new star formation, it's also known as a starburst galaxy.
Located 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor, the galaxy looks like a wagon wheel. The galaxy's nucleus is the bright object in the center of the image; the spoke-like structures are wisps of material connecting the nucleus to the outer ring of young stars. The galaxy's unusual configuration was created by a nearly head-on collision with a smaller galaxy about 200 million years ago.
Hanny's Voorwerp Credit: NASA, ESA, W. Keel (Univ. Alabama), et al., Galaxy Zoo Team Hanny's Voorwerp, Dutch for "Hanny's Object", is enormous, about the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Glowing strongly in the greenish light produced by ionized oxygen atoms, the mysterious voorwerp is below spiral galaxy IC 2497 in this view from the Hubble Space Telescope. Both lie at a distance of some 650 million light-years in the faint constellation Leo Minor...