Milky Way Galaxy
Blitz, Leo Laboratory for Millimeter-Wave Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Last reviewed:February 2019
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- Contents and structure
- Companion galaxies
- Dynamics and kinematics
- Dark matter
- Formation and evolution
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The large disk-shaped aggregation of stars, gas, and dust in which our solar system is located. The Milky Way Galaxy is a large, spiral-shaped galaxy that hosts approximately 300 billion stars. The term "Milky Way" refers to the diffuse band of light visible in the night sky emanating from millions of stars located inward of our solar system toward the galactic core (Fig. 1). Besides this nighttime glow, "Milky Way" can also refer to our galaxy as a whole. See also: Galaxy; Solar system; Star; Universe
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