The Milky Way: our amazing galaxy

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. The descriptive “milky” is derived from the appearance from Earth of the galaxy – a band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that [ … ]

What everybody ought to know about galaxies!

A galaxy is a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust, and dark matter.   What are galaxies? The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias, literally “milky”, a reference to the Milky Way. Galaxies range in size [ … ]

The Whirlpool Galaxy, one of the best known galaxies

The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51a or NGC 5194, is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. What is the Whirlpool Galaxy? [ … ]

NGC 2207 and IC 2163 about 80 million light-years away

NGC 2207 and IC 2163 are a pair of colliding spiral galaxies about 80 million light-years away in the constellation Canis Major.   What are NGC 2207 and IC 2163? NGC 2207 and IC 2163 were discovered by John Herschel in [ … ]

The Sombrero Galaxy, visible with amateur telescopes

Sombrero Galaxy or Messier Object 104 is an unbarred spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo located 31 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy has a diameter of approximately 50,000 light-years, 30% the size of the Milky Way.   What is the Sombrero Galaxy? [ … ]

IC 4970, an unbarred galaxy in the constellation Pavo

  IC 4970 is an unbarred lenticular galaxy in the constellation Pavo. It is 212 million light-years from Earth and is interacting with the barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872. It was discovered on 21 September 1900 by American astronomer DeLisle Stewart.   What [ … ]