10 Interesting Facts About The Milky Way

3. It has a black hole at the center

Milky Way has a large black hole at the center called supermassive black hole (SMBH).

Almost all large galaxies have SMBH at the center. The center of our galaxy is named as Sagittarius A*. It is an immense source of radio waves about the size of mercury orbit and believed to be a black hole. It is about 22.5 million kilometers in measures or 14 million miles across. But itself this is just a black hole and all the mass trying to get into it named as accretion disk. This disk forms the mass that is 4.6 million times the mass of our Sun. It would also fits inside the orbit of Earth and tries to consume everything that happens to be nearby.

4. Milky Way is as old as the universe itself

The age of our galaxy is determined by measuring the age of stars and then deducing the age of what preceded them. The oldest stars in Milky Way are present in globular clusters.

According to the latest estimates, Milky Way has been around for about 13.6 billion years contributing another 800 million. While the estimated age of the universe is about 13.7 billion years. However, some of the elements of the Milky Way were present from a long time. The disk and bulge in the Milky Way did not form until about 10-12 billion years ago and they might form earlier than the rest of the galaxy.

5. It is a small part of Virgo Super cluster

Milky Way a way too large but the interesting fact is it is a small part of a larger galactic structure. The closest neighboring spiral galaxy to the Milky Way is comprises of the large and small Magellan Clouds and Andromeda galaxy. Milky Way with its surrounding and other 50 galaxies made a cluster known as the Local group. And this local group is a small fraction of stellar neighborhood. Distantly according to the researchers there is an even larger grouping of galaxies named as the Virgo Super clusters and the Milky Way is just a part of this gigantic structure.

Super clusters are measured in the hundreds of millions of light years in diameter and actually the galaxies group on a larger scale. There are large stretches of open space in between the super clusters where space probes would encounter very little in way of galaxies.

And if we talk about the Virgo Super Cluster then they have at least 100 galaxy groups or clusters which are located in 110 million light-year diameter. A study conducted in 2014 indicates that Virgo Super Cluster is a part of another greater super cluster Laniakea, which is centered on the great attractor.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here