spiral galaxy


Definition of spiral galaxy

: a galaxy exhibiting a central nucleus or barred structure from which extend curved arms of higher luminosity

called also spiral nebula

Examples of spiral galaxy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, but the researchers believed this one became an elliptical galaxy. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Astronomers find galaxy similar to Milky Way more than 12 billion light-years away," 12 Aug. 2020 That means that the spiral galaxy features a central structure of stars shaped like a bar. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Hubble spots galaxy moving away from us at 3 million miles per hour," 6 July 2020 About two thirds of spiral galaxies exhibit bars, so in this way the Milky Way is in the majority. Mark J. Reid, Scientific American, "A New Map of the Milky Way," 17 Mar. 2020 Orion Arm Our Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, consisting of a flat, rotating disk containing stars, gas, and dust, with a central bulge in the middle. Jamie Carter, Travel + Leisure, "Your Cosmic Address Is the Trippiest Thing You'll Learn Today," 9 Apr. 2020 According to the space agency, IC 2051 is a spiral galaxy, noticeable in its whirling, pinwheeling arms and a bar of stars cutting through its center. Fox News, "NASA's Hubble spots stunning 'pinwheeling' galaxy," 23 Dec. 2019 The spiral galaxy, also known by its official name UGC 2885, is 2.5 times wider and contains ten times the stars as our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Hubble peeks at 'Godzilla galaxy'," 7 Jan. 2020 Forty years later, astronomers Vera Rubin and Kent Ford found more evidence of dark matter by studying the motion of stars within spiral galaxies. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Generation of Dark Matter Experiments Gear Up to Search for Elusive Particle," 3 Feb. 2020 Two merging galaxies, collectively known as M51, or the Whirlpool, show the beautiful arms characteristic of spiral galaxies. Belinda J. Wilkes, Scientific American, "The Universe through X-ray Eyes," 26 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spiral galaxy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spiral galaxy

1913, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for spiral galaxy

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The first known use of spiral galaxy was in 1913

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Cite this Entry

“Spiral galaxy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiral%20galaxy. Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on spiral galaxy

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spiral galaxy

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