Our Milky Way isalso a spiral galaxy, characterized by spiral arms wound around a brighter core. First discovered spiral galaxy William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse (IRL), identified M51 (the “Whirlpool Galaxy”) as a spiral in 1845.He used the Leviathan, then the world’s largest telescope, at Birr Castle, County Offaly, Ireland. Densest galaxies Ultra Compact Dwarf (UCD) galaxies, such as M60-UCD1 (pictured), contain around a hundred million stars squashed into a space measuring 200 light years across. Largest satellite galaxy Of the 15 minor satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, the largest and brightest is the Large Magellanic Cloud, some 160,000 light years from the centre of the Milky Way. Fastest approaching galaxy The Universe might be expanding but M86, a lenticular galaxy around 52 million light years away in the Virgo Cluster, is moving towards us at a rate of 419 km/s (260 mi/s). Largest galaxy 1C 1101, in the Abell 2029 cluster, has a major diameter of 5.6 million light years - 80 times the diameter of the Milky Way - and a light output equivalent to 2 trillion times that of the Sun.It may be the result of many smaller galaxies merging. Most massive galaxy cluster “El Gordo" is the nickname of a galaxy cluster 7 billion light years away.Discovered via a disturbance in the cosmic microwave background, El Gordo is actually two clusters colliding at a rate of several million km/h. *• i , jl BM • « * J * ' • 1 O • * • • i ’ * ' " 'Vi. 1^1 Flashback: Milestones in space ( Universe ( Solar System ( Comets ( SETI ( Observatories ( L OO R Farthest distance | travelled on another world: » The unmanned Soviet i Lunokhod 2 rover travels 42 km on the Moon between 16 Jan and .
And the next 60 years will undoubtedly be as fascinating and record- breaking as the last.
Runner-up in this category is Messier 33, a spiral galaxy that can be glimpsed at a distance of 2.53 million light years. Youngest galaxy In Feb 2014, astronomers discovered galaxy Abell 2744-Y1 the light from which takes just over 13 billion years to reach Earth.
Around 30 times smaller than the Milky Way, it is producing 10 times more stars. Most common type of galaxy Spiral galaxies such as Messier 101, pictured here by the Hubble space telescope, account for 77% of all galaxies.
/ * Skw A It is testament to the power of human imagination that space flight quickly became an accepted part of everyday thought and discussion.
Our concept of an expanding future for space exploration occupies much of our science-fiction film and television, and even cash-strapped nations .compete to send probes to our sister planets.