Think the Milky Way is big? It's puny compared to M87, an elliptical galaxy 980,000 light years in diameter. The Milky Way is only 100,000 light years in diameter. Let's not even get into Hercules A, which is 1.5 million light years across.
Astronomer and artist Rhys Taylor has made such comparisons easier and much more fun with his new infographics ("which is what I gather is now the cool term for 'posters,'" he writes) comparing the sizes of different galaxies.
The graphics are well worth exploring. They show the diversity in sizes and shapes of galaxies and offer interesting facts, like that some galaxies emit jets, powered by black holes in their centers. See them in their full glory at Taylor's website.
"...Big things have small beginnings..." ~ Prometheus
Thanks for posting this, popsci. Those are pretty neat to look at.
the galaxy's great, I always wanted to know more about the sky and our galaxy. Site Yepi6 org | Yepi8 org | Kizi-2 net
Whenever I want to FEEL the tremendous scale of the universe, I just open up Space Engine and roam it myself. My mind STILL gets blown every time.
For those who don't know, Space Engine is a really cool free program that puts an explorable universe (planets, moons, asteroids, stars, solar systems, galaxies, clusters, black holes, nebulas, and probably a few other things) at your fingertips. It even shows you how fast you're going at any given point, whether in meters, c, AU, or parsecs per second. I hope y'all don't consider this spam since it's actually pretty relevant to the article: www.spaceengine.org
Space Engine is awesome, and you're right, it is an awesome way to see just how big the Universe is.
in the ceter of our galaxy is a black hole.Our galaxy is spinning and that spinning generates a magnetic field thats creating a centrifical force keeping everything fixed within the galaxy.also, i believe, the spinning of our galaxy creating the magnetic energy ,i believe,was responsible for the magnetic energy to flow in-wards,[on account of the spinning], to the very center of the galaxy causing a vortex ,becoming the black hole that we have.our galaxy is spinning creating a spiral movement of electro-magnetic energy ,flowing inwards to the center and so the very center catches that electro-magnetic energy ,which i believe originally caused the black hole to develop.there was a continual amount of electro -magnetic energy spiralling inwards to the very center and that energy build up at the center had to cause something to give- - and i believe what resulted was the black hole.glad to share my view
This confused me, because the picture shown above doesn't include the Milky Way nor is it to scale (the larger galaxy with a diameter of 980,000 LY appears smaller than the galaxy with a diameter of 150,000 LY). For anyone puzzled by the discrepancy between the title and the picture, what they're referring to is contained in the link to Taylor's website.
Comment on "professor" george's post: I think he's confusing magnetism with gravity. Black holes aren't caused by some electro-magnetic vortex. Simply put, when a star or other large cosmic body collapses in on itself, it creates a gravity well so strong that not even light can escape; hence the term "black hole." It's more likely that black holes create galaxies (pulling matter into an orbit around them), rather than galaxies creating black holes.
And by the way, I encourage people to get a browser that checks their spelling. It's hard to take seriously a cosmological theory written by someone who can't spell "centrifugal."