CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Milky Way. Artwork of the Milky Way, our galaxy; other galaxies can be seen in the background (at upper left). The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy which consists of a core with a bright bar of stars in it. This core is surrounded by a disk consisting of several long lanes (arms) of stars which swirl around it. The core of the Milky Way is about 10,000 light years thick and the disk is about 100,000 light years across. The Milky Way is thought to have about 2 million million times as much mass as our Sun. The Sun lies in one of the arms. The Milky Way received its name because it appears as a dim, white, luminous band which stretches across the night sky.
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