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Science >> Physics >> Astronomy

Astronomy for Kids

Galaxies

Galaxy
The Whirlpool Galaxy.
Source: NASA and ESA.
Scientists used to think that all the stars in the universe were part of one giant grouping of stars. Then, in 1917, Thomas Wright suggested that there might be lots of different large groups of stars. A few years later this was proven by other astronomers and the idea of the galaxy became real.

What is a Galaxy?

A galaxy is a group of stars and other space stuff. The stars tend to spin around a center of high gravity, sort of like the planets spin around the Sun in the Solar System. Galaxies are huge and can have trillions (way bigger than billions!) of stars.

As big as galaxies are, they are generally separated by large areas of empty space. There are even clusters of galaxies that are separated by even larger areas of space. Scientists think there are over 100 billion galaxies. Wow, the universe is huge!

Milky Way

We live in the galaxy called the Milky Way. The Milky Way is part of cluster of around 3,000 galaxies called the Local Group. The Milky Way is a spiral shaped galaxy and is estimated to be made up of around 300 billion stars.

Milky Way galaxy
Drawing of the Milky Way galaxy.
Source: NASA

Types of Galaxies

There are four main types of galaxies depending on their shape:

Example of a barred spiral galaxy
Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300.
Source: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team

Fun Facts about Galaxies Activities

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More Astronomy Subjects

The Sun and Planets
Solar System
Sun
Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune
Pluto

Universe
Universe
Stars
Galaxies
Black Holes
Asteroids
Meteors and Comets
Sunspots and Solar Wind
Constellations
Solar and Lunar Eclipse

Other
Telescopes
Astronauts
Space Exploration Timeline
Space Race
Nuclear Fusion
Astronomy Glossary

Science >> Physics >> Astronomy

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