We live on a small-ish planet orbiting a standard G-type main-sequence star floating through the inner rim of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way, which is itself a standard barred-spiral galaxy among so many others in the Virgo Supercluster. But it’s a nice planet, even if there are probably 17 billion just like it, just within our own minor galaxy. And NASA has just announced that another galaxy has been confirmed as the biggest measured so far, at five times’ the size of our own puny galaxy.
The spectacular barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 has ranked among the biggest stellar systems for decades. Now a team of astronomers from the United States, Chile and Brazil has crowned it the largest-known spiral, based on archival data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) mission. GALEX has since been loaned to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. Measuring tip-to-tip across its two outsized spiral arms, NGC 6872 spans more than 522,000 light-years, making it more than five times the size of our Milky Way galaxy.
Experts say the enormous spiral galaxy likely has better stars and solar systems and planets and restaurants than our own humble galaxy, which is probably known as the “MySpace” of galaxies in the Virgo Supercluster.