Classification of the Milky Way Galaxy
Our Galaxy is classified as Sb (Sky Catalogue 2000.0) or Sbc by most sources.
Newer investigations have brought up more and more evidence that the Milky Way
probably has a bar, or barlike structure, in its central region, which would
modify its classification to become a barred spiral of type SB, or intermediate
type between barred and "normal" spirals, SAB.
Recent investigations have brought up evidence that
our Galaxy may even have a pronounced bar structure measuring as much as 27,000
light-years in length.
Already in the 1970s, Gerard de Vaucouleurs has classified the Milky Way Galaxy
as "SAB(rs)bc II," where
The new results may change this classification to "SB(rs)bc II."
- "SAB" means that the Milky Way has (probably) a less evolved central bar
structure - "SA" would be a "normal", barless spiral, "SB" a barred spiral
- "(rs)" means that there is a weak central ring of stars and gas around the
Last Modification: August 26, 2005