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UNIVERSE 103: Galaxies

What is a galaxy?

There is endless number of galaxies in the universe. Thousands of stars and planets can be found in one galaxy. Each is different from the other, like fingerprints. For example, the earth is a part of Milky Way galaxy.

How the scientists know about galaxy?

As astronomers have studied galaxies in detail, they have determined that there is more than dust, stars, and systems. They currently believe that about 90 percent of the matter in galaxies is called "dark matter."

Dark matter is matter that does not emit any radiation that can be detected using current instruments. We know that dark matter exists because of the gravity exerted on other objects.

Galaxies aren't just a few hundred or a thousand stars working together. Some are made up of tens of millions of stars and systems. It is amazing that with all of these pieces, they only tend to form a few shapes.

As galaxies spin, they form either spiral or elliptical shapes. Astronomers think that the elliptical galaxies are older than the spiral ones. There are also variations of each type. The Milky Way is currently thought to be a barred-spiral galaxy. That means we have a densely packed stellar bar in the middle of our spiral.

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