Ten Amazing Facts About The Milky Way Galaxy

 10 Facts about the milky way

If you think about it, it’s amazing enough that we reside in a solar system within a galaxy that is spinning around a black hole.  The sheer enormity of this galaxy is astonishing on its own.  But I bet there were some things about our galaxy that you didn’t know:  How many possible intelligent alien civilizations could be out there?  What is The Great Attractor?  And how about that raspberry smelling gas cloud?  Yes, there are some very curious details about our galaxy that not a lot of people know.  So let’s get into the Ten Most Amazing Facts About The Milky Way Galaxy:

10)  Our galaxy is pretty huge.  It’s about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 km across.
If you could travel at the speed of light it would take you 100,000 years to get from one side to the other.
As a size comparison, if the Sun were the size of a speck of dust our galaxy would be the size of the United States.

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9)  There is an area in space that is pulling our galaxy in at 22 million km/h.
This area has been dubbed “The Great Attractor” and what it is and what it is made of is still a mystery to scientists.

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8)  In 2002 the star V838 Monocerotis erupted and emitted radiation a million times greater than what our Sun puts out.
It is still unexplained; however, it’s believed that the cause of this was due to either two stars colliding or one star devouring its planets.

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7)  At the center of our galaxy there is a black hole with a mass 4 million times greater than the Sun.
It is currently ripping apart an enormous gas cloud and stretching it out of 160 billion km.

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6)  In our own galaxy there are between 100 to 400 billion stars.  But at night you can see 2500 stars just with the naked eye (and if there is no light pollution).

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5)  In about 4 billion years our galaxy the Milky Way is set to collide with the neighboring galaxy Andromeda.
And even though it is likely that our solar system will remain unaffected there is still a 12 percent chance that we’ll be ejected out of these merging galaxies.

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4)  We’re all familiar with how long a year is:  it’s one trip around the Sun.  But a “galactic year” is how long it takes for our solar system to revolve around the Milky Way’s center.  One orbit takes 226 million years.  Only .0008 orbits have been completed since humans have evolved.

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3)  The Drake Equation is used to estimate how many possible intelligent societies could reside in our Milky Way.
Using this equation it is believed that up to 15,785 alien societies could be existing in our galaxy.

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2)  The galaxy contains the cloud Sagittarius B2.
It’s an enormous cloud that contains 10 billion, billion, billion liters of alcohol.
It could also smell like rum and taste like raspberries because it contains ethyl formate.

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1)  This year the most Earth-like planet was discovered.
This planet is called Kepler-186f and is 10 percent larger than Earth.
It’s about 500 light years away, resides in the habitable zone of its star, and could also contain water.

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sources:  10) NASA Center for Astrophysics; 9) NASA Encyclopedia Britannica, Daily Galaxy; 8) Slate, BBC; 7) National Geographic, Space.com; 6) Space Today, National Geographic, NASA; 5) Universe Today, Space.com; 4) Daily Galaxy; 3) Astrobiology Magazine; 2) BBC The Guardian; 1) BBC, Space.com

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