Guide to our Galaxy

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This virtual journey shows the different components that make up our home galaxy, the Milky Way, which contains about a hundred billion stars.

It starts at the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way and with the stars that orbit around it, before zooming out through the central Galactic Bulge, which hosts about ten billion stars.

The journey continues through a younger population of stars in the stellar disc, home to most of the Milky Way’s stars, and which is embedded in a slightly larger gaseous disc. Stars in the disc are arranged in a spiral arm pattern and orbit the centre of the Galaxy.

The discs and bulge are embedded in the stellar halo, a spherical structure that consists of a large number of globular clusters — the oldest population of stars in the Galaxy — as well as many isolated stars. An even larger halo of invisible dark matter is inferred by its gravitational effect on the motions of stars in the Galaxy.

Looking at a face-on view of the Galaxy we see the position of our Sun, located at a distance of about 26 000 light-years from the Galactic Centre.

Finally, the extent of the stellar survey conducted by ESA’s Hipparcos mission is shown, which surveyed more than 100 000 stars up to 300 light-years away from the Sun. In comparison, ESA’s Gaia survey will study one billion stars out to 30 000 light-years away.

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14 Comments

  1. The stars look like sperm cells. What if these stars are high concentrations of souls from the millions of different home planets within this galaxy waiting to be reborn.

  2. I don't want to be rude but who ever mad this video please go and kill yourself, please do us a favour, and next guy who needs to do the exactly the same thing is the guy who composed horrible and terrific music for this video. And ESA please when you do videos like this let someone to explain what's going on, not some text in front of stars.

  3. Using telescope from earth, we can watch other galaxy but
    I have a doubt, as we are in Milky way galaxy…how was it possible to know exactly where is our sun located in milky way galaxy by being in this galaxy…

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