Milky Way – the home to our home – is one of the most common forms of galaxies out there in universe. Though pretty common, Milky Way galaxy is one hell of an interesting galaxy with mind-boggling facts that will make you say – Really? Is that even possible? Let us find out 20 interesting Milky Way galaxy facts and in the process, find out exactly where we lie of this vast ocean of celestial objects.
Interesting Milky Way Galaxy Facts: 1-10
1. In India, Milky Way has been referred to as Aakash Ganga, which literally translates into: “Ganga of the heavens.”
2. The Chinese call it the Silver River. In Chinese mythology, there was weaver woman who used to weave clothes for gods and there was herdsman who was in love with this weaver. The gods wanted to separate the two and put this Silver River between them.
3. The ancient Greeks called this galaxy as Milky Circle. As per Greek Mythology, suckling Heracles was being fed by Hera. Accidentally, some milk spilled over, giving birth to the Milky Circle.
4. The ancient Greeks had another explanation too! They looked upon the galaxy as a road that led to Mount Olympus.
5. Okay, there is yet another explanation found in Greek mythology. This one says that the Milky Way is the path of ruins left behind by the chariot of Sun God Helios.
6. The Milky Way reminded the Romans about milk and hence, they called it the Milky Road.
7. Democritus was the first man in world to claim that Milky Way was made up of stars. He was a Greek philosopher who lived circa 460 BCE to 370 BCE.
8. It was not until the 17th Century CE that Democritus’ claim was proven by Galileo Galilei who eventually used his telescope (the first one ever made in 1610 CE) to validate that the light band that has been called as Milky Circle by the Greeks or Milky Road by the Romans or the Aakash Ganga by the Indians or the Silver River by the Chinese was actually the light emitted by numerous individual stars.
9. Scientists estimate that this galaxy has somewhere between 100 and 400 billion stars. However, at night when we look up at sky and manage to get a glimpse of the galaxy, we are able to see on 0.0000025% of all stars present in the galaxy.
10. Scientists believe that at the very center of Milky Way galaxy sits a supermassive or gargantuan Black Hole that is known as Sagittarius A*.