(Unknown facts about milky way galaxy) We call Earth our home, but it has got her’s too. Still confused what am I talking about? It is the same old thing that had been taught to us in our geography classes. I am sure you got the answer now! Of course, not only our mother Earth but many other planets also, find their home in Milky Way. So the first question that arises in our inquisitive mind is, why is it called ‘Milky Way’? Probably because it looks like milk? If you thought that as a probable explanation then you are absolutely right. When viewed from the Earth, it looks like a bland of lights from stars which looks milky in appearance and that’s why it is called milky way.
Here are some of the unknown facts about milky way galaxy which we all are probably not aware of:
Contains a lot
Can you guess an estimated number of planets in our galaxy? Dude, it’s staggering! It encompasses an estimated of at least 100 billion planets and between 200 and 400 billion stars. Oh! that’s huge.
Our own Black Hole
Our galaxy has it’s own black hole. Don’t worry as it’s far away from our solar system. The black hole is called ‘Sagittarius A’. The center of the Galaxy lies in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius therefore, it is here that the Milky Way is brightest.
Not just our Earth, scientists have found that the Milky Way too is rotating at a velocity of approximately 600 km per second. The Solar System is located within the disk, of about 26,000 light-years from the Galactic Center.
Not so bright
Since Milky Way is dull looking because of the light pollution from stars and even from our own moon, the sky has to be really dark to get a view of the galaxy properly. From Earth, the Milky Way appears as a band because its disk-shaped structure is viewed from within.
Not just planets
Apart from stars and planets, Milky Way comprises of 90% hydrogen and 10% helium by mass. And also, the Milky Way consists of a bar-shaped core region consisting of a disk of gas, dust and stars.
Seems like we have a companion. Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest galaxy to our galaxy, at least by astronomical measurements. And was often referred to as the Great Andromeda Nebula in older texts.
A possible Collision?
According to scientists, Andromeda galaxy is approaching us at 100 to 140 km/s. In 3 to 4 billion years, there may be an Andromeda-Milky Way collision. Now this sounds scary. Doesn’t it?
The ages of stars in Milky Way are calculated using long-lived radioactive elements such as thorium-232 and uranium-238. In addition, dark matter is also present in abundance.
The Milky Way is almost 13.6 billion years old and Earth is 4.54 billion years old. Hence, it is almost three times older than the Earth.
We are not alone
An estimated number of 40 billion Earth-sized planets harbor life in the Milky Way. As a result, the nearest such planet may be 4.2 light-years away, according to a 2016 study. Such Earth-sized planets may be more numerous than gas giants.
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