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The Structure of the Milky Way Galaxy

As the Milky Way is seen from Earth as a diffuse band all around the sky, and as we live within it and have no opportunity to view it from outside, our Galaxy's global structure is not immediately obvious.

Our Galaxy is classified as Sb (Sky Catalogue 2000.0) or Sbc by most sources. Newer investigations have brought up more and more evidence that the Milky Way probably has a bar, or barlike structure, in its central region, which would modify its classification to become a barred spiral of type SB, or intermediate type between barred and "normal" spirals, SAB.

  • More on the Classification of the Milky Way

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: August 13, 1999