Massive systems held together by gravitational attraction, consisting of stellar associations, star systems, star clusters and types of interstellar clouds, stellar remnants, gasses, cosmic dust and an important but not yet completely understood component called dark matter.

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18
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2answers
450 views

How do spiral arms form?

Why aren't all spinning galaxies shaped as discs as my young mind would expect? I understand how the innermost parts of a galaxy spin faster than the outer parts, and that could explain why some ...
18
votes
1answer
488 views

Why the galaxies forms 2D plane (or spiral-like) instead of 3D ball (or spherical-like)?

Question: As we know (1) the macroscopic spatial dimension of our universe is 3 dimension, and (2) Gravity attracts massive objects together and the gravitational force is isotropic without ...
18
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2answers
385 views

How would the night sky appear at the edge of the galaxy?

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, there is a planet named Terminus which is believed to be the planet farthest from the galactic center. There are almost no visible stars in its sky, only the ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

How would we tell antimatter galaxies apart?

Given that antimatter galaxies are theoretically possible, how would they be distinguishable from regular matter galaxies? That is, antimatter is equal in atomic weight and all properties, except for ...
16
votes
3answers
337 views

How can a spiral galaxy exist?

A spiral arm orbiting a central mass should be dispersed quite quickly as the outer elements would move more slowly than the inner ones. The Milky Way, is about 59 Galactic Years old, which, one would ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Which way do spiral galaxies rotate?

Is it known whether spiral galaxies typically (or exclusively?) rotate with the arms trailing or facing? Intuitively it feels weird to think of the arms as facing the direction of rotation, but ...
13
votes
5answers
22k views

Can the “Milky Way” galaxy be seen by the naked eye in a clear sky?

Is this photo "real"? Are the stars not super-imposed in the image?    
13
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2answers
4k views

How many stars are in the Milky Way galaxy, and how can we determine this?

I have heard multiple estimates on the quantity of stars within our galaxy, anything from 100 to 400 billion of them. The estimates seem to be increasing for the time being. What are the main methods ...
11
votes
4answers
319 views

What is the name of our Galaxy?

I was told that the name 'Milky Way' first came about when people observered the milky looking stretch of sky; that is, before telescopes came about and we realised it wasn't a milky cloud, but rather ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How to find the Andromeda galaxy without using a go-to telescope?

In other words, what is the proper technique (star-hopping or other?) in order to find and properly point a telescope to this target? Would a star atlas or other tool/reference help? Can I use the ...
10
votes
3answers
687 views

Andromeda/Milky Way collision: How, and how accurately, can a galaxy's lateral velocity be measured?

Some sources suggest that the Andromeda Galaxy is likely to collide with our own in approximately 3 to 5 billion years. We can estimate the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy using various techniques, ...
10
votes
1answer
54 views

Why is the measured distance to the Triangulum Galaxy much more uncertain than to the Andromeda Galaxy?

Why is the measured distance uncertainty for M33 (835 ± 105 kiloparsec) six times bigger than the measured distance uncertainty for M31 (778 ± 17 kiloparsec)? They are approximately at the same ...
8
votes
2answers
986 views

What happens when the black hole at a galactic core eats the galaxy?

I'm making several assumptions, not sure if any are correct: there is a black hole at the center of a galaxy the black hole is eating the galaxy Eventually the galaxy will be gone, right? Has ...
8
votes
3answers
120 views

What's dark matter and who discovered it?

I have heard about dark matter that's called the Master Of The Universe. What's this and is the dark matter the reason galaxies exist?
8
votes
4answers
402 views

What makes the stars that are farther from the nucleus of the galaxy go faster than those in the middle?

It has no sense that stars that have a bigger radius and apparently less angular speed($\omega$) goes faster than the ones near the center.
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do galaxies and water going down a plug hole spin?

We all experience things spinning, whether it's water down a drain, the earth on its axis, planets round the sun, or stars in a galaxy - even electrons round an atom. But why is spin so common in ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What happen when two galaxies collide?

As the title suggests, I know collision of galaxies happens. Questions are Why do they collide (obviously because of gravity, but in what conditions)? Aftermath of the collision? If there is a super ...
7
votes
2answers
344 views

How does dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain galaxy rotation curve?

How does a dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain a galaxy rotation curve? Suppose for simplicity we use a model of a star rotating about a more massive star in a fixed circular orbit. For ...
7
votes
4answers
599 views

What does ionization of neutral Hydrogen have to do with “transparency”?

Most accounts of the early history of the Universe make some reference to (re)ionization as being the reason that the Universe becomes transparent after a period of opacity caused by the absence of ...
7
votes
6answers
7k views

Why are some galaxies flat?

What is the explanation for the flatness of some galaxies? (If it's due to their rotation then why they are rotating, why some other galaxies are not flat etc., I would like to hear a nice and ...
6
votes
3answers
823 views

Are we capable of discovering planets in the Andromeda galaxy?

I just watched this SpaceRip video on YouTube which shows pictures taken by Hubble while looking into the disk of the Andromeda galaxy to study a certain type of variable star. It occurred to me that ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Solar system, visible stars and deep sky objects

Since I've seen that galaxies are often called "deep sky objects", as opposed to individual stars, does this mean that all visible stars in the night sky actually only belong to The Milky Way Galaxy? ...
6
votes
2answers
973 views

Mass of a galaxy via luminosity

Is there a general formula for calculating the mass of a galaxy, or even a nebula from the luminosity? Or, is there a way of calculating the total mass of a galaxy from its energy output? Is there a ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

Stellar Viscosity in Galaxies

Is there such as thing as the viscosity of stars in a galaxy, along the lines of gravitational attraction between stars changing the dynamics. If so, how is that put in terms of the Virial Theorem?
6
votes
3answers
197 views

What frame(s) of reference are used to measure the rotation of the Sun around the galaxy ?

I can find various speeds and estimated durations listed at numerous places but none specifically describe the frame of reference. Possible options as example of kind of answer I expect. Local ...
6
votes
3answers
199 views

How Are Galaxies Receding Faster Than Light Visible To Observers?

We know that some galaxies are moving away from us faster than the speed of light and we know it by measuring the redshift, but how's that possible? If they're moving away say at 2c, how would the ...
6
votes
2answers
101 views

How Galaxy is formed?

Given the distance among stars (the most massive objective in the space) is so huge, the difference of order of magnitude is about 7. And also, since gravity is such a weak force, how is it likely for ...
6
votes
2answers
673 views

Galaxy Spectra: Emission and Absorption Lines

Spectra from galaxies include both absorption and emission lines. I do understand how both types of spectral lines are produced but I am not quite sure where each type is coming from when we observe a ...
6
votes
2answers
433 views

What is the frequency of occurrence of stellar classifications off the HR main-sequence?

An alternative version of this question would be: "if was to pick a star from the $10^{11}$ or so in our galaxy at random, what are the probabilities of it being various kinds of star?" (and I do mean ...
6
votes
1answer
292 views

Why doesn't my particle simulation end in a flat disc?

I've made a 3d particle simulator where particles are attracted to each other by the inverse of the square radius. The purpose of my experiment is to see if this alone would create a flat disk (like ...
6
votes
1answer
89 views

Why does Omega Centauri have a distinct chemical signature from the rest of the Milky Way?

In answering a question about the orbital path of Omega Centauri, I learned that it has a distinct chemical signature from the rest of the Milky Way. Basically, it is very rich in s-process elements, ...
6
votes
2answers
322 views

How Scientist Came to Know the Shape of our own galaxy without going out of it?

As far as I know, scientists have been able to see a lot of differently shaped galaxies in our visible universe through modern age telescopes. But I was wondering how it was possible to know how our ...
6
votes
2answers
854 views

NED velocity to redshift conversion?

I've done some search with the Nasa Extragalactic Database (NED) and I have a very basic question about the velocity/redshift conversion. For example, for the first object of this page, we have ...
6
votes
1answer
273 views

Does conformal gravity explain the Bullet cluster lensing effects?

Conformal gravity is an "alternative" theory of gravity, where instead of using the Einstein-Hilbert action composed of the Ricci scalar, the square of the conformal Weyl tensor is used. It was ...
6
votes
4answers
424 views

Why do 3d spheres and gravity tend to rotating discs on one plane?

Whether is it our solar system or a whole galaxy, there is usually a massive object (star or black hole) at the centre with gas and objects rotating around it. The gravitational effect of the ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is the universe so organized?

If you think about the Big Bang and the flow of matter in all directions, you would think, how unorganized would this universe be? No matter how long it would take. The idea that matter or most of it ...
5
votes
4answers
441 views

Are galactic stars spiraling inwards?

Are the stars in our galaxy spiraling inwards towards the center, or are they in a permanent orbit? And if we are heading towards the center then what is the rate of this process? I started ...
5
votes
3answers
78 views

What keeps galaxies united like a solar system?

Blackholes may be really strong but they act in a very short range. For example if the sun was a black having the same mass, it will be dark but we will still be revolving around it. It wont engulf ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

How will a super massive black hole effect our galaxy?

I've recently learned that the general consensus is that several (if not, most) galaxies have super massive black holes in their center, in particular the Milky Way. This, at least to me, makes ...
5
votes
1answer
76 views

How are stellar and galactic ages determined?

Being a 4th year undergraduate physicist, you'd think I'd know this! But it's never really taught in any detail, just vague mentions of metallicities and, in galactic case, redshift. So how exactly ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How could scientists know how far a star or galaxy is from us?

How do astronomers measure how far a star (or galaxy) is away from the earth? How would they know that it has taken 13 million years for light to travel in space before it reaches us?
5
votes
1answer
992 views

Most accurate ways to find the average distance between stars in Milky way galaxy

I've already posted here on quora. But, I'm not totally sure if it's the most reasonable method. Would anyone care to elaborate on how to find the average distance between stars in a given galaxy ...
5
votes
1answer
241 views

Why are there not many detectable supernovas?

Astronomers estimate that there are between 200 billion to 400 billion stars contained within the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy probably has 1 trillion stars. There may be around 500 billion galaxies ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

About the hump on galaxy rotation curves

The past days I have been studying the rotation curves of disk galaxies and I am currently trying to understand how we can extract information about the dark matter of a galaxy by looking its rotation ...
5
votes
2answers
125 views

Why is the gas halo of the Milky Way so hot?

I have read on the webpage of NASA that there is a massive hot gas halo around our galaxy. Its temperature is between 100,000 and 1 million Kelvins or more. I do not understand why is it so hot. The ...
5
votes
3answers
586 views

Why the red-shift of distant galaxies is considered to be the effect of expanding spacetime?

Why it's not explained just by Doppler redshift caused by faster movement of those galaxies billions of years ago when that light was emitted? Would the speeds of the galaxies necessary for Doppler ...
5
votes
1answer
130 views

Galaxies seen from Earth

If we observe two galaxies from the Earth that are diametrically opposed and each 10,000 light-years from the Earth, will the separation distance between the galaxies be 20,000 light-years? ...
5
votes
1answer
293 views

How and why will the Milky way collide with the Andromeda?

Hubble's law says that the universe is expanding.How come the milky way and the andromeda are on a collision course?How will they end up colliding with each other?
5
votes
0answers
143 views

Relation between isophotal radius and virial radius in spiral galaxies?

Is there any (proposed) relation between the B-band isophotal radius of a spiral galaxy and its virial radius (r_200)? If you know of such a relation, please post a reference paper.
4
votes
5answers
178 views

Is dark matter around the Milky Way spread in a spiral shape (or, in a different shape)?

Dark matter doesn't interact with electromagnetic radiation, but it, at least, participates in gravitational interactions as known from the discovery of dark matter. But does dark matter exist in a ...