The Size Of The Milky Way Galaxy, Shown To Scale

The M100 galaxy, which is about 60 percent larger than the Milky Way, next to the M97 galaxy. From "Galaxy Size Comparison Chart" by Rhys Taylor

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.