There are many different types of galaxies, but the main types include spiral galaxies (like our Milky Way), irregular galaxies, and elliptical galaxies. A typical galaxy contains approximately 100 billion stars, while some have less than a million, and yet others have even more than 200 billion stars. Here are seven galaxies, with details that will surely take your breath away.
1: The Milky Way Galaxy
The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. It is called “Milky” because of its appearance when seen through telescopes. It has a disk-shaped structure, with a dim glowing band arching across the night sky. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy that contains 100 to 400 billion stars, and approximately 40 million Earth-sized planets.
2: The Andromeda Galaxy
The Andromeda is a spiral galaxy that is approximately 2.5 million light years away from the Earth. It is also known as the M31, Messier 31, and NGC 224. It is the nearest spiral galaxy to our own, the Milky Way. It gets its name from the constellation of Andromeda, which is the area of sky in which this galaxy appears. The Andromeda is probably the largest galaxy in the local cluster of galaxies.
3: The Black Eye Galaxy
The Black Eye Galaxy is also known as the “Evil Eye Galaxy”. This galaxy was discovered by Edward Piggot in March 1779. It has a rather creepy appearance, with a spectacular dark band of absorbing dust enveloping the galaxy’s bright nucleus. This band gives the galaxy its name, and the ‘Evil Eye’ nickname.
4: The Tadpole Galaxy
The Tadpole Galaxy is a disrupted barred spiral galaxy that is located approximately 420 million light years away from the Earth. The most dramatic feature of this galaxy is that it has massive, bright blue star clusters, and a trail of stars approximately 280,000 light years long.
5: The Sombrero Galaxy
The Sombrero Galaxy is also known as M104, Messier 104, or NGC 4594. It is an unbarred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Virgo about 28 million light years away from Earth. The Sombrero Galaxy has a bright nucleus, a prominent dust lane, and a large central bulge in its inclined disk. This dark dust lane and central bulge give the galaxy the appearance of a sombrero.
6: The Whirlpool Galaxy
The Whirlpool Galaxy is also known as M51a, Messier 51a, or NGC 5194. It is an interacting, grand-design, and spiral galaxy, which has a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus in the constellation Canes Venatici, located approximately 23 ± 4 million light years away from the Milky Way Galaxy.
7: The Sculptor Galaxy
The Sculptor Galaxy is also known as the “Silver Dollar” or “Silver Coin” Galaxy. It is also a spiral galaxy, located in the constellation Sculptor. The Sculptor Galaxy exists as one of the brightest galaxies in the sky, which can even be seen through ordinary binoculars.
There are an estimated 100 billion galaxies or more in the universe. However, those listed above are just a few of the galaxies scientists have been able to study so far. Each galaxy is unique in its own way, and the sheer number makes one wonder if we would ever be able to visit another one besides our own.