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

Galactic flex Stretching some 120,000 light-years from tip to tip, the Milky Way is what’s known as a spiral galaxy. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "The Milky Way is warped around the edges, new star map confirms," 1 Aug. 2019 In a spiral galaxy, the arms are full of gas and dust. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Stunning spiral galaxy spotted by Hubble," 24 July 2019 Nadia Drake at National Geographic reports that warped spiral galaxies are not unusual and astronomers have catalogued many, including the Milky Way’s twin sister galaxy Andromeda. Smithsonian, "New 3D Map Shows Milky Way’s Big Twist," 3 Aug. 2019 The universe is full of spiral galaxies, comprising about 77% of those observed. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Stunning spiral galaxy spotted by Hubble," 24 July 2019 The black hole, which is about 250 million times heavier than the sun, lies at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147 and is 140 million light-years from Earth. Fox News, "NASA’s Hubble telescope detects supermassive black hole that defies theoretical models," 12 July 2019 The casualty was a star in a spiral galaxy some 160 million light-years away. Quanta Magazine, "Lucky Break Leads to Controversial Supernova Discovery," 5 July 2017 NGC 3256's odd, distorted shape betrays its violent origins: The galaxy is the product of a collision between two spiral galaxies that astronomers think occurred about 500 million years ago. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Galaxy Distorted by Long-Ago Collision Glows in Gorgeous Hubble Photo," 1 June 2018 In at least half a dozen protoplanetary disks, something seems be winding gas and dust into seashell whorls like the arms of spiral galaxies. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "These Spinning Disks of Gas and Dust Reveal How Planets Get Made," 28 May 2018

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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Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for spiral galaxy

The first known use of spiral galaxy was in 1913

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More from Merriam-Webster on spiral galaxy

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spiral galaxy

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