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In the night sky: Orion
In the night sky: Orion

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3.2.5 The Milky Way

An image of the night sky.
Figure 10

Our Galaxy, the Milky Way, is considered a typical galaxy. It has hundreds of billions of stars, gas and dust to make billions more stars, and dark matter (you’ll learn about this later this week).

The Milky Way is shaped like a huge spiral that rotates once every 200 million years. It is so big that light takes 100,000 years to cross from one side to the other. Our Solar System is on one of the arms of the spiral, about half way out from the centre of the Galaxy.

In the next section, you’ll learn about galaxies close to ours.