The Milky Way

In astronomy, which of the following is the largest?

Considering the Milky Way, Jupiter, our solar system, and the Oort cloud, the answer is: the Milky Way.

Photo courtesy: NASA, ESA.

Our solar system includes our sun, planets, and objects like moons and asteroids. Meanwhile, our galaxy, known as the Milky Way, includes hundreds of billions of solar systems. And now to really blow your mind: the universe has billions of galaxies like ours.

To put it all in perspective: if the sun was the size of a grain of sand, our solar system would be about the size of your palm. The Milky Way, then, would be (get ready) about the size of North America. What's more: the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Feel small yet?

In this sense, the major distinguishing factor between these cosmic groupings is size. But, if that wasn't enough, scientists believe that the universe is still expanding outward at its very furthest points. The big bang is the event said to have given way to matter and life as we know it, and continues to be the source of the expansion of our universe.

Did you know?

The same way that the moon orbits around the Earth, and the Earth around the sun, solar systems orbit around inside their galaxies. However, a single trip around is no walk in the park: it takes the Earth's solar system roughly 200 to 250 million years to complete its orbit.

To see our galaxy in perspective, check out the video below.

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