A galaxy is a unique cluster of numerous celestial objects and bodies such as stars, planets, moons, comets, and asteroids that are maintained by the gravitational pull. The universe is made up of billions of galaxies. The Earth is a tiny planet on a galaxy known as Milky Way galaxy, which is just one of the many billions of galaxies that form the universe. The spiral-shaped Milky Way galaxy is enormous and consists of 100 to 400 billion stars including the Sun as one of the stars. The galaxies nearest to the Earth include Andromeda, Segue 1, Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal, and Canis Major Dwarf Galaxies.
Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy
This is the nearest galaxy to the earth and is located about 25,000 light-years from the solar system. In 2003, a team led by Australian and European astronomers discovered this galaxy. The Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy and Milky Way galaxy belong to a group of more than 20 galaxies that form the local group of galaxies. In comparison to Milky Way galaxy, Canis Major Dwarf only has roughly one billion stars while the Milky Way Galaxy has more than a hundred billion stars. A high percentage of the stars in the galaxy are the red giant stars. The Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy is often referred to as a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way galaxy.
Segue 1 is the second nearest galaxy to the Earth. The galaxy is situated approximately 75,000 light years away from the Sun. It was discovered by researchers in 2006. Segue 1 is a dwarf galaxy way smaller than the Milky Way galaxy. The Segue 1 galaxy mainly consists of dark matter and approximately 1,000 scattered stars. Scientists say that Segue 1 is the darkest galaxy ever discovered. The galaxy is also said to have the oldest stars and is, therefore, one of the oldest galaxies.
Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy
It is the third nearest galaxy to the Earth and Scientists also refer it as Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy. The galaxy is loop-shaped and consists of four tail-like clusters. This galaxy was only discovered in 1994. Scientists say that the galaxy has a substantial amount of dark matter which has enabled it to exist without being pulled apart by bigger galaxies surrounding it.
Andromeda galaxy is the largest galaxy nearest to Earth. It is found 2.5 million light-years away from our solar system. From as early as 1612, Andromeda galaxy had been discovered by astronomers although they assumed it was part of the Milky Way galaxy. In 1920, Edwin Powell, an American astronomer confirmed that the Andromeda galaxy was separate from Earth’s Milky Way galaxy. Andromeda galaxy is so enormous it is possible to see it with the naked eye from earth. The Andromeda galaxy shares a lot of characteristics with the Milky Way galaxy including its spiral pattern. Researchers estimate that the Milky Way and the Andromeda will clash in the next 4.5 billion years to create one giant galaxy.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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