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Milky Way Galaxy

The Milky Way Galaxy


The Milky Way Galaxy is home to our solar system. We see the plane of the Galaxy as a band of light stretching across the night sky. The Galaxy is a barred spiral containing about 200 billion stars.


The oldest known stars are 13 billion years old.


The solar system is located within the Milky Way Galaxy on a branch called the Orion Spur.

Distance from Earth

26,000 light years in the direction of Sagittarius


100,000 light years across

Artist's conception of the spiral structure of the Milky Way with two major and two minor stellar arms and a central bar. (Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC))

Enlarge Image


"Fast Facts: Milky Way Galaxy" is a table that lists the name, description, location, size, and distance of Earth from the center of the galaxy. An artist's conception of the galaxy is included.

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Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about our galaxy.

A large-number recognition activity. Have students study this table and other galaxy Fast Fact tables.  Students can order objects based upon their distances from Earth.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

Related materials

Amazing Space resources by topic: Galaxies