Galaxies come in three main types: spiral galaxies like our Milky Way, elliptical galaxies which are mainly the end result of mergers of two or more galaxies and irregular galaxies, which are all the other galaxies with unusual and irregular shapes. Galaxies contain between 10 million stars - these galaxies are called dwarf galaxies - and a hundred trillion stars. There are more than 170 billion galaxies just in the observable universe (which is only a part of the whole universe).

The closest galaxies to the Milky Way are the Small Magellanic Cloud (a dwarf galaxy) and the Large Magellanic Cloud (an irregular galaxy). They are 150 000 to 200 000 light years distant. Only Canis Major Dwarf is still closer – 25000 light years - but it will soon be part of the Milky Way since it is being cannibalised by the Milky Way right now. The stars with all their planets will survive and then be part of the Milky Way, so maybe the word cannibalised is a bit exaggerated.

Click on an image below to see it full size
Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (M83) visible light Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (M83) vis...
Southern Pinwheel Galaxy M83 Centre Southern Pinwheel Galaxy M83 Centre
NGC 1300 NGC 1300
The Andromeda Galaxy The Andromeda Galaxy
M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy
M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy 2 M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy 2
Arp 273 Arp 273
NGC 6744 - A Milky Way Twin NGC 6744 - A Milky Way Twin
Edge-On Galaxy NGC 5866 Edge-On Galaxy NGC 5866
Arp 188 - The Tadpole Galaxy Arp 188 - The Tadpole Galaxy
The HCG 59 Group of Galaxies The HCG 59 Group of Galaxies
Stephan's Quintet Stephan's Quintet
Sizes of Galaxies Sizes of Galaxies
Sizes of Galaxies II Sizes of Galaxies II
Sizes of Galaxies III Sizes of Galaxies III
Supernova 1994D in NGC 4526 Supernova 1994D in NGC 4526
Our Local Group Our Local Group
Milky Way-Andromeda collision as seen from Earth Milky Way-Andromeda collision as s...
Milky Way - Andromeda Collision Milky Way - Andromeda Collision
NGC 2683 - The UFO Galaxy NGC 2683 - The UFO Galaxy
Antennae Galaxies colliding Antennae Galaxies colliding
Centaurus A Centaurus A
The Centre of Centaurus A The Centre of Centaurus A

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Published by Published or last modified on 2014-02-05