The Milky Way - Our Galaxy

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System  The Earth's position about two thirds of the way out from the center.
The Milky Way Galaxy The Milky Way Milky Way - Where are We?
The Milky Way from the Top The Milky Way from the Side We are Here
The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy 100,000-120,000 light years in diameter containing 200–400 billion stars. The galaxy is estimated to contain 50 billion planets, 500 million of which could be located in the habitable zone of their parent star. Depending on its structure the entire galaxy has a rotational rate of 1 per 15 to 50 million years. It is estimated to be about 13.2 billion years old, nearly as old as the Universe.

At the center of the Milky Way is a black hole.  Black holes have such a strong gravitational pull that nothing – not even light, which is the fastest anything can travel in our Universe – can escape it.  Since a black hole has such a huge gravitational force, it sucks up anything that comes within its reach.