The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. This name derives from its appearance as a dim "milky" glowing band arching across the night sky, in which the naked eye cannot distinguish individual stars.

    The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy 100.000-120.000 light years in diameter constraining 200-240 billion stars. The Solar System is located within the disk, around two thirds of the way out from the Galactic Center, on the inner edge of a spiral-shaped concentration of gas and dust called the Orion–Cygnus Arm. The stars in the inner ≈10,000 light-years are organized in a bulge and one or more bars. The very center is marked by an intense radio source named Sagittarius A* which is likely to be a supermassive black hole. Stars and gas throughout the Galaxy rotate about the center and the rotational period is about 200 million years. The Galaxy as a whole is moving at a velocity of  630 km/sec, depending on the relative frame of reference. It is estimated to be about 13.2 billion years old.

Credit Image: NASA & ESA