The Milky Way is a large galaxy that is shaped like a disk. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. The Milky Way contains our sun and the solar system. The Milky Way got its name because of its appearance in the sky. At night, you can see a faint light band stretched across the sky. This band is where our solar system is. In the night sky, it has an unclear appearance because of the combined light of stars too far away to be seen individually by the naked eye, but the stars that lie close to the solar system can be individually indentified.
The Milky Way is best seen on a clear, moonless summer night, when it appears lit up. It looks like an irregular band circling the sky from the northeastern to the southeastern horizon. This irregular shaped band extends through the constellations Perseus, Cassiopeia, and Cepheus.
The Milky Way is a large spiral galaxy. It has several spiral arms wrapping around a central bulge. The central bulge is about 10,000 light-years thick. The stars in the central bulge are closer together than they are in the arms but in the arms, clouds of dust and gas are usually found.
The Milky Way rotates around an axis which joins the galactic poles. The Milky Way rotates clockwise and all the spiral arms trail in the same direction.
The stars in the center of the Milky Way are closer together than the stars on the spiral arms. The stars on the spiral arms are farther apart from each other because there are clouds of dust and gas in between the stars. The Milky Way is surrounded by a large cloud of hydrogen gas and surrounding this is a spherical halo that holds many globular clusters. Astronomers have discovered that the Milky Way is surrounded by undetected matter that is larger than the halo.
The Milky Way contains both blue stars and giant red stars. The central part of the Milky Way and the halo both contain giant red stars. By using tools like photoelectric cells, infrared filters, and radio telescopes, astronomers have found radiation. These observations also indicated compact objects near the galactic center. In the galactic center, there might be a black hole. On one of the arms, it contains the great nebula in Orion.