Galaxies

We live in a rocky planet — Earth — orbiting the center of mass of our Solar System every about 365 terrestrial days.

The single star of our Solar System is the Sun, a middle-aged ordinary galactic star.

Our star the Sun is just one of the hundreds billions stars of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

This magnificent 360-degree panoramic image, covering the entire southern and northern celestial sphere, reveals the cosmic landscape that surrounds our tiny blue planet. The plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, which we see edge-on from our perspective on Earth, cuts a luminous swath across the image. For copyright reasons, we cannot provide here the full 800-million-pixel original image, which can be requested from Serge Brunier. Credits: ESO, https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0932a/

Our Galaxy is a spiral of moderate mass, and we live in one of its outer spiral arms.

Together with the Sun and the other planets and bodies of the Solar System, we travel around the Milky Way’s center every about 200-220 million terrestrial years.

Our Galaxy is a solitary one. Our closest neighbor is Andromeda, a spiral galaxy 2.5 million light years from Earth, very much similar to the Milky Way.

Galaxies can be thought as the fundamental building blocks of our Universe.

There is no galaxy identical to another: each one unique with its star formation history, its central black hole activity, peculiar characteristics that make each galaxy of the Universe worth studying. There is no boring galaxy.

Arp 273

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