- from Galaxies
Orbiting around the center of the Milky Way is like being on a merry-go-round that never stops. Our view of the universe constantly changes, but very slowly! One complete circle takes 225 million years. The last time Earth was in the same place as it is now in our galaxy, the age of dinosaurs had just begun!
From our spot on the Milky Way merry-go-round, we cannot see the entire galaxy. We figure out its shape by using what we can see and comparing it to other galaxies. From high above, the Milky Way probably looks like a barred spiral with corkscrew-shaped arms that spin out from a central bar. From the side, the Milky Way looks like the edge of a flat plate. A round halo of stars sticks out above and below the center of the plate. We can’t see the core, or nucleus, of our galaxy. Stars, gas clouds, dust rings, and star clusters block our view. There’s much, much more to the Milky Way than we can see with just our eyes.