The Milky Way is our home in the universe – it is one of the billions of galaxies that exist independently. A galaxy is a collection of stars ranging from millions to billions in number, and they are held together by the gravitational force.
The galaxy we live in – is known as the Milky Way. Thus, we call it our home.
Milky Way and the Solar System
Many of the astronomical studies reveal that the solar system is a part of the Milky Way. It has been quite challenging to study the structure of the Milky Way; however, the powerful telescopes exhibit that it is a stripped spiral galaxy. From the top, it shows a central bulge. The barred spiral has two major arms and two minor arms.
Our Solar system, along with the planets, is located in the outer arm of the Milky Way galaxy, which we call the Orion Arm. The Orian arm is a minor arm located between the two major arms – Perseus and Sagittarius.
Rotation of the Milky Way
The Milky way is constantly rotating, and so are the arms and the planets within the arms. The planetary solar system travels at a speed of 828,000 kilometers per hour.
Despite this speed, it takes 230 million years for the solar system to complete one rotation around the Milky Way. Thus, you can imagine how large is the Milky Way!
The Halo of Gases Around the Milky Way
Surrounding the Milky Way – we have an enormous halo of hot gases that range up to hundreds or thousands of light-years. The halo also spins along with the galaxy, and surprisingly it is as massive as the stars.
Around the center of the galaxy, and in the high amount of gas and dust – the stars are formed. The region is known as the “disk” of the galaxy and is about a thousand light-years in thickness.
Formation of the Stars in the Milky Way
The exact mechanism of the formation of stars is yet unknown. However, with the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers have investigated the star lifecycle.
The scientists drew out the following few conclusions like the astronomers now know that the stars formation is the result of gas and clouds which collapse triggered by a specific gas – still unsure which that gas is. They are still not aware of the amount of the cloud the star uses to come into existence and when do they actually form.
Death of the Stars in the Milky Way
Just like everything else, stars form – complete their lifecycle, and die. However, they die in a number of significantly exciting ways. Thanks to the reflecting telescopes that allowed us to look far off into the deep sky and observe these celestial phenomena.
If we explain the death of stars, we can say that they die by releasing their nuclear fuel. It depends on the mass of the star that how the ending events will occur.
However, as a general rule, the massive stars tend to use their fuel quickly – once they use up all their fuels and their none left to survive, the star collapses. The outer layer explodes, creating a ‘supernova.’
The supernova undergoes further blasts and explosions, giving rise to a ‘neutron star.’
On the other hand, the average-sized stars (that are greater than the sun itself) die a bit less drastically. On consuming up to their hydrogen fuel, they generally swell up to become red giants. They are called so because they fuse helium in their cores, which later shed, forming a ‘planetary nebula.
However, the star’s core remains and cools over the course of billions of years – which is known as the ‘white dwarf.’
The small stars – we call them ‘red dwarfs’ live for a hundred billion years. The reason behind this is the fact that they use their nuclear fuel very slowly.
What’s in the Center?
The center of the Milky has a lump known as the ‘galactic bulge.’ It is the heart of the Milky Way, which is full of gases, dust, and stars. It is so thick that you can see a minimal percentage of stars present in the galaxy.
It is literally impossible to look across the other side of the milky way because of the thick cloud of dust and gas.
Black holes in the Milky Way
In the very center of the galaxy – there is a giant black hole. The black hole is as big as the sun. According to one hypothesis, the black hole started off as significantly smaller but later grew larger and larger until it attained its current size.
The black holes are said to have their own gravitational effects that tend to attract things or materials around them.
To add to the horror, there is not a single black hole, but there are around a few million to a billion black holes in the Milky Way alone! Astronomers have found that we can see the closest black hole that is around a thousand light-years from the Earth with the help of a telescope.
Astronomy is a super interesting subject, and we can never take enough of it. When they say that in astronomy, the universe is our laboratory – they say it right.
All praises for the high-resolution telescopes that have made it possible for us to observe and discern the deep sky’s happenings. We have always imagined the Milky Way as a galaxy all lit and starry to look at.
However, the studies reveal that there is so much more to it. Astronomers and space scientists use different telescopes such as the Hubble telescope, radio telescope, and all-rounder reflecting telescopes to view the universe’s most divine phenomena.
The events occurring in the stars’ lifecycle – their formation, events, and death are beyond the comprehension of an ordinary human mind. Hence, we would not have found out what’s outside our planet without looking out into space.