J. BAUM & N. HENBEST / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY J. BAUM & N. HENBEST / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The Milky Way. Map of the central region of our galaxy, seen from a tilted angle. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy with a short bar (yellow-white) at centre and a diameter of about 100,000 light years. It contains about 15 billion stars. Molec- ular clouds (orange) and bright nebulae (purple) populate the galaxy's spiral arms. Molecular clouds consist of molecules and dust, and are associated with regions of star formation. Nebulae are formed by hydrogen lit up and ionised by nearby young, hot stars. Clouds of neutral hydrogen are in yellow. Based on locations of 1500 stars, nebulae and other objects, the Henbest/Baum map of the galaxy was published in 1994.
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