MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Milky Way galaxy. Computer artwork of the Milky Way galaxy, which contains our solar system, with globular star clusters around the outside (orange). The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. It has a central bulge (yellow) of old stars that has a bar (white) of older, redder stars passing through it. Around this nucleus, 10,000 to 16,000 light years away, is a bright 'molecular ring' (blue) of young hot stars and star forming regions. The spiral arms extend outwards from this ring. The globular star clusters are huge balls of hundreds of thousands of very old, densely packed stars that surround the galaxy in a so-called halo. There are about 160 known globulars orbiting the Milky Way.
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