DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Earth in the Milky Way. Computer artwork of two views of the Milky Way galaxy, showing Earth's location (red arrow) within it. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy that contains our solar system. It has a nucleus of old stars at its centre. Around this nucleus, but 10000 to 16000 light years away, is a bright 'molecular ring' of young hot stars and star forming regions. The spiral arms extend outwards from this ring. The total diameter of the galaxy is thought to be 100,000 light years.
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