Universe Guide

Where is the Centre of the Milky Way Galaxy?

The Milky Way Galaxy is an estimated 100 Light Years in diameter, it might seem large but there are larger galaxies out there. The Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest large sized galaxy is double the size of our galaxy at 200 Light Years across. It would take about 100 years travelling at the speed of light of light to travel across our galaxy. It would take an unfathomable length of time to visit every star in the system. There are closer galaxies but the Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest significantly sized galaxy to us.

There are an estimated 100-400 billion stars, if you want to count them, go a head. The Andromeda Galaxy has many times that number of stars. One day, our galaxies will merge but not for a few billion years yet.

No one has seen what our galaxy looks like from the outside, it has only been theorized and calculated. It is believed we are in a spiral galaxy rather than an elliptical, Lenticular Galaxy or Irregular Galaxy. In short, a Lenticular Galaxy is mid way between an Elliptical and a Spiral galaxy. A Lenticular is like a lens, its has a centre bulge and a arms.

Centre of the Milky Way Galaxy

The centre of the galaxy is known as Sagittarius A* and is a Supermassive Black Hole . Sagittarius A* has a mass that is many millions / billions of times greater than our Sun. It makes you feel quite insignificant thinking about it. The centre is located in the Sagittarius constellation which mainly south of the solar ecliptic. It is not far from the border with Scorpius which if the star map had been drawn slightly different, it would the Scorpions celebrating. That puts us in the northern hemisphere of the galaxy.

We are about 25,896 light years away from the centre of the galaxy. An interesting fact is that we are closer to the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy than we are to the Galactic Centre. If the Milky Way Galaxy was London, we would probably be living between Barking and Upminister. We are in the suburbs of the galaxy. Large stars such as AH Scorpii are located near the centre.

Anti-Centre of the Galaxy

The opposite direction of the centre of the Galaxy is known as the Anti-Centre. The Anti-Centre is located in the area of constellations that Taurus, Gemini and Auriga are located. The nearest major star that is closest to the anti-centre is El Nath, a large blue star that is also commonly known as Beta Tauri. El Nath is also part of the Auriga constellation and is shared between the two constellations.

The Anti-Centre is not the quickest way out of the galaxy as it an spiral shaped galaxy. The quicket way out of the galaxy to head toward Arcturus in the constellation of Bootes rather than Polaris because of how the galaxy is inclined.

How long is a Galactic Year?

The black hole name is a misnomer, it is not black but it is supermassive though. It is what keeps the stars orbiting. Like the Earth orbits the Sun, our star and other stars orbits the Supermassive Black Hole at the centre. It takes about 225 - 250 million years to come one galactic year. If assuming it is 250 million years then assuming the Dinosaur appeared in January then we are only in December. Dinosaurs appeared roughly 240 Million Years ago.

As a footnote, before you write and say "You spelt Centre wrong, nope, I'm British, thats how we spell it."

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