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Galaxies

What do you know about stars?

Andromeda and Companion Galaxies

The picture at left shows the Andromeda Galaxy and two companion galaxies. It is over 2.4 million light-years away from us. Click on the image to see a larger size view.

A galaxy is like an island in space made up of gas, dust and millions of stars. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, includes about a trillion (a thousand billion) stars in a disk shape. Recent research indicates that there may be millions of galaxies in our universe. Galaxies are classified using Edwin Hubble's scheme describing spiral, barred spiral, elliptical, peculiar and irregular shapes.

Top view of a spiral galaxy

The spiral galaxy seen at right is like our own galaxy. We are about two-thirds of the way out on one of the arms of our galaxy. We are in a group of galaxies called the Local Cluster.

A few years ago the Hubble Space Telescope took an image called the Hubble Deep Field. It was a spot of sky near the Big Dipper about the width of a dime 75 feet away. Scientists counted over 1500 galaxies! Take that number times the volume of space in every direction and you would calculate that there are millions of billions of galaxies with billions of stars in each galaxy.


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Star information for elementary students.
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Parts of a star.


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