Spiral Galaxies main content.

Spiral Galaxies

Spiral galaxies_HERO AMNH/D. Finnin

Exhibition Text

Spiral galaxies have three visible parts: a thin disk composed of stars, gas, and dust; a central bulge of older stars; and a spherical halo of the oldest stars and massive star clusters. The signature of these galaxies is an elegant spiral pattern in the disk. Disk stars move in nearly circular orbits along the same plane. Stars of the bulge and halo move in orbits at all angles to this plane.

For Educators

Topic: Astronomy

Subtopic: Galaxies

Keywords: Astrophysics, Cosmic dust, Gases, Stars--Clusters, Stars--Orbits, Spiral galaxies

Audience: General