Our home in space is a vast galaxy containing 400 billion suns, at least that many planets, and a 4-billion-solar-mass black hole at the center.

Our home in space is a vast galaxy containing 400 billion suns, at least that many planets, and a 4-billion-solar-mass black hole at the center.

This heavenly view of the Milky Way was taken in the South Pacific paradise of Mangaia, the most southerly of the Cook Islands. This image was chosen as one of the winners of the National Maritime Museum's Astrophotographer of the Year 2011 Contest.   CREDIT: Tunc Tezel

This heavenly view of the Milky Way was taken in the South Pacific paradise of Mangaia, the most southerly of the Cook Islands. This image was chosen as one of the winners of the National Maritime Museum's Astrophotographer of the Year 2011 Contest. CREDIT: Tunc Tezel

International Space Station panoramic tour / Highlights / International Space Station / Human Spaceflight / Our Activities / ESA

International Space Station panoramic tour / Highlights / International Space Station / Human Spaceflight / Our Activities / ESA

The Milky Way galaxy is our home in space. It is a vast galaxy of 400 billion stars, at least that many planets and a supermassive black hole at the center.

The Milky Way galaxy is our home in space. It is a vast galaxy of 400 billion stars, at least that many planets and a supermassive black hole at the center.

This photo illustration depicts a view of the night sky just before the predicted merger between our Milky Way galaxy and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. Image released May 31, 2012.

This photo illustration depicts a view of the night sky just before the predicted merger between our Milky Way galaxy and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. Image released May 31, 2012.

The Andromeda Galaxy, also known as Messier 31 (M31), is located 2.5 million light years from our own Milky Way and is a spectacular target for amateur astronomers. Andr van der Hoeven took this image of the Andromeda Galaxy in September 2014.

The Andromeda Galaxy, also known as Messier 31 (M31), is located 2.5 million light years from our own Milky Way and is a spectacular target for amateur astronomers. Andr van der Hoeven took this image of the Andromeda Galaxy in September 2014.

This very wide-field view of the Milky Way shows the extent of the 84-million-star VISTA infrared image of the center of the galaxy (delineated by red rectangle).

This very wide-field view of the Milky Way shows the extent of the 84-million-star VISTA infrared image of the center of the galaxy (delineated by red rectangle).

Milky Way Illumination - Delicate Arch, Utah

American National Parks

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