The Top 5 Galaxies Closest to Earth

  Galaxy Distance to Earth
(light years)
(light years)
Year Discovered Type
1 Canis Major Dwarf 25,000 ly 5,200 ly 2003 Irregular
2 Sagittarius Dwarf 82,000 ly 10,000 ly 1994 Elliptical
3 Large Magellanic Cloud 160,000 ly 30,000 ly Prehistory Irregular
4 Small Magellanic Cloud 190,000 ly 16,000 ly Prehistory Irregular
5 Draco Dwarf 205,000 ly 3,000 ly 1954 Spheroidal
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  1. Stars which are luminous bodies of mostly hydrogen and helium gas, are collected together into galaxies these galaxies are then collected together into groups of galaxies, and these groups are collected into clusters. The largest structures in the Universe are galaxy superclusters, which contain millions of galaxies and can measure hundreds of millions of light-years across.
  2. The word "galaxy" comes from the Greek word for milk. The Latin version of Milky Way is Via Lactea, with "Via" meaning "Way" or "Road" and "Lactea" meaning "Milk". Our solar system is one of 100 - 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy which is 120,000 light years or 21,844,826,661,189,072,848 kilometres across. The sun and all it's planets take approximately 200,000,000 years to complete one orbit around it's centre. The Milky Way consists of at least 200 and maybe as many as 400 billions stars. The oldest star in Milky Way is estimated to 13.2 billion years which is nearly as old as the known Universe. The Milky Way has a halo of dark matter that makes up over 90% of its mass which means that all that is visible to us (with the naked eye or telescopes) makes up less than 10% of the actual mass of the Milky Way.
  3. Galaxies can range in size from having just a few million stars to well over a trillion stars. The central galaxy of the Abell 2029 galaxy cluster, IC 1101, is perhaps the largest known galaxy and is 1,070 million light years distant and has a diameter of 5.6 million light years which is 80 times the diameter of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Abell 2029 is composed of thousands of galaxies enveloped in a cloud of hot gas - and a mass of dark matter equal to a hundred trillion Suns. It has a total light output equivalent to 2 trillion times that of the sun. It is estimated to be from 5.6 to over 6 million light years across (or 56,764,382,835,484,800,072 kilometres wide).
  4. The most distant galaxy that can be seen with the naked eye is the Andromeda Galaxy which is 2,309,000 light years from Earth (or 21,844,826,661,189,072,848 kilometres). It has an estimated 300 billion stars and is approximately 180,000 light years in diameter. Travelling at the speed of light it would take 2 million years to reach it. There are about 100 billion galaxies that we can observe from Earth (mostly with the Hubble telescope). The Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way are predicted to merge within the next 5 billion years and in cosmic events such as this smaller galaxies are mostly consumed by larger ones.
  5. The most distant known galaxy is Abell 135 IR 1916 which is a mind-boggling 13.2 billion light years from Earth or 122,989,496,143,550,400,464,952.229894961435504e+23 kilometres (more or less).
Tags: Space & The Universe

Sources:  Various, Top 5 of Anything Research.

List Notes: One light year is equal to 9,460,730,472,580 kilometres or 5,878,625,373,183 miles.
Galaxies Closest to Earth

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