MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of the Milky Way galaxy as it might appear edge on. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy roughly 100000 light-years in diameter. It is flat, shaped like two fried eggs back-to-back. At the centre is the nucleus, a vast flattened ball of old, red stars orbiting a supermassive black hole. This view imagines our galaxy seen from far from its nucleus, within the galactic plane. A lane of dust bisects the galaxy. Globular clusters (spherical clusters of stars) orbit here. One is seen in close up on the lower right.
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