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size of the milky way

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dngray

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So basically, I want to know how big the milky way is in terms of size and star population. Is it larger then Andromeda? How does the milky way rank amongst our local group of galaxies? any good sites of data on our local group? is the milky way a rather average spiral galaxy or is it larger then others?
 
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SpeedFreek

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dngray":st59xb5v said:
So basically, I want to know how big the milky way is in terms of size and star population. Is it larger then Andromeda? How does the milky way rank amongst our local group of galaxies? any good sites of data on our local group? is the milky way a rather average spiral galaxy or is it larger then others?
The Milky Way is estimated to be something around 100,000 light-years across, and an average of around 1000 light-years in thickness. It contains something between 200 billion and 400 billion stars, which is less than half the number of stars when compared to our closest neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda. It is a rather average spiral galaxy.
 
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captdude

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Average - except for the fact that it has an 8 planet system on the outer edge of one of its spiral arms that harbors the only arguably intelligent creature known throughout the universe.
 
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Gravity_Ray

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captdude":3corpjug said:
... that harbors the only arguably intelligent creature known throughout the universe.
Arguably. Yeah, thats a good way of putting it. ;)
 
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csmyth3025

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captdude":gvcp0b8y said:
Average - except for the fact that it has an 8 planet system on the outer edge of one of its spiral arms that harbors the only arguably intelligent creature known throughout the universe.
In deference to our (posible) cosmic neighbors, it would be more polite to say:"...known to us throughout the universe."
 
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MeteorWayne

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Since the topic is size, the existance of intelligent life is unrelated and the descriptor "average" is proper :)
 
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csmyth3025

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MeteorWayne":z6fescig said:
Since the topic is size, the existance of intelligent life is unrelated and the descriptor "average" is proper :)
Quite right.

Chris
 
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Druss

Guest
Although the Milky Way is smaller than Andromeda size wise i have read that it might be equal or close to Andromeda mass wise, something to do with different types of measurements.

Is the VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array) type of measurement the standard way to measure galaxys or just a more obscure (and confusing) method?
 
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MeteorWayne

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Well, we used to judge the size of galaxies by the visible light profiles. As our reach across the electromagnetic spectrum has increased, other wavelngths provide different measures.

The comparable mass of the Milky Way and Andromeda is based on including the dark matter halo, such estimates are barely more than a decade old.

MW
 
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