Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

What class of spiral galaxy is the Milky Way?

I am a science teacher in 9th grade physical science. One frequently asked question I get is what class of spiral galaxy is the Milky Way? Is it an Sa Sb or Sc?

Although it is well accepted that the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, there is still some contention over what class of spiral it is. Since we are stuck in the middle of it and it is often difficult to get accurate distance to astronomical objects, getting a good 3-D picture has been difficult. If we could only get a view from outside.....!

Anyway this means that the answer to your question is not known. We're not even sure if the Milky Way has a bar or not. I hope that that will satisfy the 9th graders!

March 2001, Karen Masters (more by Karen Masters) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about Galaxies: Previous | Next

More questions about The Milky Way: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

This page has been accessed 23004 times since May 15, 2002.
Last modified: June 4, 2003 9:53:54 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)