What is Milky Way?

The galaxy in which our Earth is located is known as the Milky Way. Experts believe that there are between 200 billion and 400 billion stars with an average diameter of 100,000 light years.

The Milky Way (Latin expression that can be translated into Spanish as “milk path” and which is related to the aspect of the band of light that borders the sky) is part of a set of galaxies identified as the Local Group, where it is the second larger behind Andromeda. This mentioned group is also formed by the Triangle galaxy, the Andromeda satellites called M32 and M110, the Magellanic Clouds that act as satellites of the Milky Way itself, several satellites, nebulae and another series of smaller galaxies.

It is possible to segment the Milky Way into three relevant sectors: the halo (external and internal), the disk (thin, thick and extreme) and the bulge. The galactic halo is the structure that surrounds the galaxy. It has a very low concentration of stars and is home to most globular clusters (clusters of very old stars). The disk is the sector of the galaxy that contains the greatest amount of gas and where star formation processes still occur. Eight spiral arms are located in the Milky Way’s disk. The bulge, also known as the galactic core, is located in the central area of ​​the galaxy and has the highest density of stars. In various cultures there are legends and stories that claim the origin and formation of this Milky Way. So, for example, in Greek mythology two theories are established about this fact. The first establishes that this galaxy was formed from an event that establishes Hercules, the illegitimate son of Odysseus and who was not among the immortal gods, and Hera, wife of Odysseus, as protagonists. Specifically, it is established that those offspring were placed in the womb of the goddess Hera while she was sleeping so that she could suckle from her and thus drink the milk that would give her the status of deity. However, that one woke him up and violently separated him, bringing with him the milk to spill and create the aforementioned Milky Way. The second, in turn, tells that it was the goddess of wisdom, Athena, who convinced Hera to breastfeed Hercules. However, she sucked so hard that she injured her “owner” causing the milk to spill and the galaxy that now occupies us to emerge at the same time. In addition to all this, we also have to say that in Spain, for example, this road is known in the same way as the Camino de Santiago because it was once used by pilgrims who made this route to find their way around and get there. his destination.: the Galician city of Santiago, where the apostle of the same name rests.

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The Solar System, experts say, is the name that identifies the group of planets in the Milky Way where Earth is located. This system is located in the so-called Orion Arm and would be about 28,000 light-years from the aforementioned central area of ​​the Milky Way. It should be noted that the sun is the only star in the solar system, also consisting of eight planets (Earth, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus) and other smaller bodies.

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