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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 The Milky Way began as a series of dense regions in the early universe not long after the Big Bang. The first stars to form were in globular clusters that still exist. They are among the oldest stars formed in the Milky Way region.The Milky Way has grown by merging with other galaxies through time. It is currently acquiring stars from a very small galaxy called the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal, as well as gobbling up material from the Magellanic Clouds.The Milky Way moves through space at a velocity of about 552 kilometres per second (343 miles per second) with respect to the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation.The Milky Ways central core contains a supermassive black hole. It is commonly referred to as Sagittarius A*. It contains the mass of about 2.6 million Suns.The stars, gas and dust of the Milky Way all orbit the centre at a rate of about 220 kilometres per second. This constant rate for all stars at different distances from the core implies the existence of a shell of dark matter surrounding our galaxy.Our galaxy will collide with Andromeda Galaxy in about 5 billion years. Some astronomers refer to our two galaxy as a binary system of giant spirals. The Sombrero Galaxy may not be part of a formal galaxy group, but could be a member of a string of galaxies that extends away from the Virgo Cluster.As many as 2,000 globular clusters swarm around the core of the Sombrero Galaxy, and the number could be related to the size of the central bulge.The Sombrero has a central supermassive black hole at its heart. Observations of star motions near the black hole suggest it could have the mass of a billion Suns, perhaps the most massive of any black hole found so far at the heart of a galaxy.The Sombrero Galaxy is a favorite target for well-equipped amateur astronomers. If you have a good dark-sky sight, it can be spotted through binoculars; those with large telescopes can spot the dust lane. The Sombrero is a spring and earl Galaxies A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system that consists of stars and stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust. Examples of galaxies range from dwarfs with as few as ten million stars to giants with a hundred trillion stars, each orbiting their galaxys own center of mass. There are probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe. The Sombrero Galaxy is one of the most unusual looking barred spiral galaxies visible from Earth. Its bright nucleus, large central bulge and spiral arms threaded through with a thick dust lane make it look a little like a hat from Mexico. The dust lane is a ring that circles the bulge of the galaxy, and it is rich with gas, dust, and hydrogen gas. Because it has all the elements needed for star formation, its not surprising that astronomers have found many sites of star formation inside. The Large Magellanic Cloud lies about 163 thousand light-years from Earth. Its companion, the Small Magellanic Cloud is about 200,000 light-years away.For many years astronomers thought the Magellanic Clouds orbited the Milky Way. Recent measurements may prove that they could be moving too fast for that.The Magellanic Clouds are gas-rich, meaning they have a higher portion of their mass as gas. They also have less portion of their mass bound up in metallic elements.The Magellanic Clouds have both had their shapes distorted by gravitational interactions with the Milky Way. As these galaxies pass near the Milky Way, their gravitational pull also misshapes the outer bars of our galaxy.Recent studies of the Small Magellanic Cloud indicate that it might be a former single galaxy split into two remnants. Gravitational interactions with the LMC may have broken that galaxy apart.The Large Magellanic Cloud contains a highly active starbirth region called the Tarantula Nebula. It is part of a larger cloud of gas and dust, and its high rate of star formation may be caused by compression of interstellar gas and dust by the collision of the cloud with the interstellar medium. The 1987a supernova exploded not far from this region.The massive galaxy M87 is the most spectacular example of an elliptical galaxy we can see from Earth. The most fascinating feature of this galaxy is its jet, which is visible in optical light as well as x-rays and radio emissions. The jet extends from the central supermassive black hole of the galaxy and reaches out about 5,000 light-years. As a true elliptical galaxy, M87 has no obvious dust lanes and very little evidence of star formation. It likely formed from a recent merger between two other galaxies. he Milky Way Galaxy is our home galaxy in the universe. It is a fairly typical barred spiral with four major arms in its disk, at least one spur, and a newly discovered outer arm. The galactic centre, which is located about 26,000 light-years from Earth, contains at least one supermassive black hole (called Sagittarius A*), and is crossed by a bar. The Milky Way began forming around 12 billion years ago and is part of a group of about 50 galaxies called the Local Group. The Andromeda Galaxy is part of this group as are numerous smaller ones galaxies, including the Magellanic Clouds. The Local Group itself is part of a larger gathering of galaxies called the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies. The Large Magellanic cloud is a nearby galaxy once considered to be an irregular type until astronomers studied it more closely. It now turns out to be an irregular with a bar across its heart. It may once have been a spiral. The LMC (as it is known) is visible in Earths Southern Hemisphere skies, along with its companion dwarf galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The Milky Way is consuming gas that is flowing from the Magellanic clouds (in the Magellanic Stream). Eventually these two smaller galaxies might collide with the Milky Way. Both the LMC and the SMC have star-forming regions, and the LMC was the site of the spectacular 1987a supernova explosion.
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