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galaxy, large aggregation of stars, gas, dust, and usually dark matter, typically containing billions of stars. Recognition that galaxies are independent star systems outside the Milky Way came from a study of the Andromeda Galaxy (1926–29) by Edwin P. Hubble that indicated the great distances at which this and other galaxies are located. Previously, the galaxies had been classified with the luminous gas clouds, or bright nebulae, within the Milky Way. The sun and its solar system, as well as the visible stars, are all in the Milky Way galaxy. Harlow Shapley encouraged the exclusive use of the term “galaxies.” Billions of galaxies are within the optical range of the largest telescopes. In 1996, analysis of photographs taken from the Hubble Space Telescope increased the estimated number of galaxies from 10 billion to 50 billion, and subsequent observations after improvements to Hubble led astronomers to revise this upward to at least 100 billion. A subsequent estimate (2016) of 2 trillion includes many relatively small galaxies (some with as few as 1 million stars), most of which have merged during the life of the universe to form larger galaxies. Research with the Hubble Space Telescrope has also indicated that supermassive black holes are found at the center of large galaxy. A galaxy is held together by the gravitational attraction between its constituent parts (see gravitation), while its rotational motion prevents it from collapsing on itself. Just as gravitation binds individual stars into galaxies, it also acts to coalesce galaxies together in clusters and cluster into superclusters, which are among the large structures of the universe and may span 150 million light-years or more. Computer simulations of the development of the universe further suggest that most galaxies are clustered along filamentlike structures that consist of dark matter, with large voids among the filaments, and dark matter also forms the framework about which galaxies themselves arise (most galaxies contain roughly five times more dark matter than normal matter). Many large galaxies have smaller galaxies, called satellite galaxies, in close proximity. The galaxies nearest the Milky Way form a cluster called the Local Group. The Local Group includes the Andromeda Galaxy, which is a spiral galaxy similar in size and composition to the Milky Way, and the Magellanic Clouds, which are satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. The vast majority of observed galaxies are classified as either spiral or elliptical (football-shaped), with a small minority, e.g., the Magellanic Clouds, classified as irregular according to a scheme originated by E. Hubble. The Local Group is part of a supercluster, known as the Laniakea Supercluster, that spans some 500 million light-years. Although estimates of the age of the universe have varied (see Hubble's law), current estimates place its age at around 13.799 billion years. The earliest galaxies imaged by modern astronomers include several that were formed less than 600 million years after that.

A typical spiral galaxy is shaped like a flat disk, about 100,000 light-years in diameter, with a central bulge, or nucleus, containing old stars; winding through the disk are the characteristic spiral arms of dust, gas, and young stars (see stellar populations). This type of galaxy is further classified as being either a normal or a barred spiral. In the normal spiral, the arms, at least two in number, join smoothly with the nucleus; in the barred spiral, such as the Milky Way, the arms project from a bank of stars that runs through the nucleus. The elliptical galaxies, lacking spiral arms entirely and containing little or no gas and dust, resemble the nuclei of spiral galaxies. Their shapes vary from nearly spherical to highly flattened ellipsoids. Elliptical galaxies have a much greater variation in size, mass, and luminosity than do spiral galaxies; their sizes range from the largest known galaxies of all, with luminosities about 10 times that of the Andromeda Galaxy, to the small dwarf ellipticals, which can contain as few as a million stars. Irregular galaxies appear structureless and without any nucleus or rotational symmetry; their light comes mostly from young stars. Ultra diffuse galaxies can be as large as the Milky Way in extent but with only 1% of the stars.

Spiral galaxies contain a larger number of bluer, younger stars, while elliptical galaxies contain a larger number of redder, older stars. This has led astronomers to believe that stars initially cluster into spiral galaxies and that over time structural changes transform them into elliptical galaxies. Some researchers speculate that the transformation occurs because of gravitational forces exerted by galaxies as they slowly pass each other. Computer simulations suggest another alternative, called “galactic harassment,” in which galaxies interact although they remain far apart and pass each other at high speeds. The most widely accepted alternative suggests that the transformation is caused by collisions of galaxies and gravitational tidal interactions between them as they travel through space, causing them to grow and evolve. Several dwarf galaxies are currently colliding with the Milky Way; others are on course to do so over the next 2 to 3 billion years. The collisions are not cataclysmic because galaxies—even though they may contain many billions of stars—are mostly “empty” space and the probability of two stars meeting is very small. However, the “empty” space is not really empty, it is full of gas and dust which can interact when the galaxies collide. There is also friction between the gas and dust in the colliding galaxies, causing shock waves that can trigger some star formation in the galaxies. These processes can radically affect the colliding galaxies, e.g., two spiral galaxies can merge to form an elliptical galaxy.

Many galaxies radiate a large fraction of their energy in forms other than visible light. With the development of radio astronomy, many radio galaxies were discovered. Other galaxies radiate strongly in the infrared, ultraviolet, or X-ray parts of the spectrum.


See R. J. Tayler, Galaxies, Structure and Evolution (1993); N. Henbest and H. Couper, The Guide to the Galaxy (1994); M. S. Longair, Galaxy Formation (1998); M. Merrifield and J. Binney, Galactic Astronomy (1998); L. S. Sparke and J. S. Gallagher 3d, Galaxies in the Universe (2d ed. 2007); H. Mo, F. van den Bosch and S. White, Galaxy Formation and Evolution (2010).

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Schematic views of the Galaxy, (a) from above (b) from the sideclick for a larger image
Schematic views of the Galaxy, (a) from above (b) from the side


(gal-ăks-ee) (Milky Way System) The giant star system to which the Sun belongs. The Galaxy has a spiral structure and, like other spiral galaxies, is highly flattened. It is estimated to contain of the order of 100 billion (1011) stars, the bulk of which are organized into a relatively thin disk with an ellipsoidal bulge, or nucleus, at its center. This system is embedded in an approximately spherical halo of stars and globular clusters (see illustration). The radius of the disk is approximately 20 kiloparsecs and its maximum thickness (at the center) is about 4 kpc. The halo is more sparsely populated than the disk and its full extent is uncertain, although its radius is known to be greater than that of the disk. There may also be a very much larger dark halo, or corona, of unseen matter stretching out to a radius of 100 kpc or more (see below). The characteristic spiral arms, which contain many of the brightest stars in the Galaxy, wind outward from the nuclear region, in or close to the central plane of the disk.

The Sun is situated only a few parsecs north of the central plane, near the inner edge of one of the spiral arms. Our distance from the center is nominally taken as 8.5 kpc (IAU, 1985).

The entire Galaxy is rotating about an axis through the center, the disk rotating fairly rapidly, the halo more slowly (see galactic rotation). At the Sun's distance from the center, the systematic rotation of the disk stars is about 220 km s–1, whereas the halo system is rotating with a speed of only about 50 km s–1.

Many astronomers now believe that our Galaxy (and others) is enveloped in a huge dark halo. Its presence is inferred only from the rotation curve of the Galaxy and by its gravitational effect on the more distant globular clusters in the halo and on nearby dwarf galaxies. It contains ten times as much mass as the stars of the Galaxy. Most of the matter, like other dark matter, is likely to consist of some kind of elementary particle.

The objects in the halo are old stars or clusters of old stars, i.e. globular clusters, that belong to population II. They increase in density toward the center of the Galaxy but show little concentration toward the galactic plane. Stars in this system are believed to have condensed early in the life of the Galaxy, maybe 15 billion years ago, when the gas cloud from which it formed was still almost spherical. The bulk of the stars in the disk, and probably in the nucleus also, are stars of intermediate age (3–5 billion years) belonging to the disk population. The young population I stars are mainly confined to a layer about 500 pc thick along the center of the disk.

Most of the interstellar gas and dust detected in the Galaxy lies in or close to the galactic plane, and about half of it is concentrated into very dense molecular clouds distributed along the spiral arms. The youngest stars in the Galaxy, notably the T Tauri stars and the very bright, short-lived O and B stars, are also largely confined to the spiral arms and it is almost certain that stars are still being formed from the molecular clouds there. Tracing of the spiral structure is complicated by our position in the disk. Three relatively nearby sections of arms have been traced optically – principally by mapping the distribution of O and B stars and associated emission nebulae. These are the Orion arm, in which the Sun is located; the Perseus arm, located about 2 kpc farther out along the plane; and the Sagittarius arm, which lies about 2 kpc nearer the center. Another section, the Carina arm, may be a continuation of the Sagittarius arm, the concatenation being called the Sagittarius-Carina arm. Interstellar extinction makes optical tracing impossible beyond the first few kiloparsecs of the Sun in most directions. More distant spiral features have been traced by radio-astronomy techniques, mainly by mapping the distribution of neutral hydrogen in H I regions and, more recently, the carbon monoxide in molecular clouds. The analysis is not simple, however, and it is even uncertain whether the Galaxy is a two-armed or four-armed spiral.

Interstellar extinction also obscures the central nucleus of the Galaxy at optical wavelengths. Information about this region has been derived mainly from radio, infrared, and X-ray observations. See galactic center.

The total mass of the Galaxy (ignoring the dark halo) is estimated to be a little less than 2 × 1011 solar masses, of which about 10% exists in the form of interstellar matter. Where our Galaxy fits in the Hubble classification is still open to argument. Some observations suggest a type Sb structure, others a type Sc. There is evidence of a central bar extending to a radius of at least 2.4 kpc, with a mass of around 1010 solar masses.

Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Contrary to what one might anticipate, stars are not evenly distributed throughout the universe. Instead, they cluster together in galaxies (from the Greek gala, meaning “milk”), which are large groupings containing billions of stars. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way.

The astrological effects of the fixed stars were the only influences from outside the solar system considered in traditional astrology. More recently, astrological researchers have begun to explore the potential astrological significance of galactic as well as extragalactic phenomena—phenomena such as the galactic center, black holes, pulsars, and quasars. This area of study is still very much in its infancy, with little information immediately applicable to the interpretation of individual natal charts.


Erlewine, Michael, and Margaret Erlewine. Astrophysical Directions. Ann Arbor, MI: Heart Center School of Astrology, 1977.
Sedgwick, Philip. The Astrology of Deep Space. Birmingham, MI: Seek-It Publications, 1984.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A large-scale aggregate of stars, gas, and dust; the aggregate is a separate system of stars covering a mass range from 107 to 1012 solar masses and ranging in diameter from 1500 to 300,000 light-years.


McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


any of a vast number of star systems held together by gravitational attraction in an asymmetric shape (an irregular galaxy) or, more usually, in a symmetrical shape (a regular galaxy), which is either a spiral or an ellipse


the. the spiral galaxy, approximately 100 000 light years in diameter, that contains the solar system about three fifths of the distance from its centre
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


An extensible language in the vein of EL/1 and RCC.

["Introduction to the Galaxy Language", Anne F. Beetem et al, IEEE Software 6(3):55-62].
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

Galaxy S

A family of Android smartphones from Samsung introduced in 2010. The following year, Galaxy S was named European Smartphone of the Year and soon became the most popular Android phone on the market. In 2012, Samsung featured a 4.8" screen on its S III and accelerated the trend for larger displays (see phablet).

"Active" Ruggedized Models
Starting with S4, "Active" models are ruggedized Galaxy S phones. However, all Galaxy S models, starting with S7, are certified IP68 (see IP code). A brief description of all S models follows starting with the S4. See Galaxy Note, Google Nexus, Galaxy A, Galaxy C and Galaxy X.

ALL GALAXY S MODELS                   Max Storage       Screen Weight  Screen      (GB)Model    Size  (oz.)    Res.    Int. Ext**S21 Ultra 6.8"  8.0  3200x1440  512  ---
 S21+      6.7"  7.1  2400x1080  256  ---
 S21       6.2"  6.0  2400x1080  256  ---

 S20 FE 5G 6.5"  6.7  2400x1080  128  1TB
 S20 FE    6.5"  6.7  2400x1080  128  1TB

 S20 Ultra 6.9"  7.8  3200x1440  512  1TB
 S20       6.2"  5.8  3200x1440  128  ---
 S20+      6.7"  6.6  3200x1440  512  1TB

 S10 5G    6.7"  7.0  3040x1440  256  ---
 S10+      6.4"  6.2  3040x1440  1TB  512
 S10       6.1"  5.5  3040x1440  512  512
 S10e      5.8"  5.3  2280x1080  256  512

 S9+       6.2"  6.7  2960x1440  256  400
 S9        5.8"  5.7  2960x1440  256  400

 S8+       6.2"  6.1  2960x1440  128  256
 S8        5.8"  5.4  2960x1440   64  256

 S7 Edge   5.5"  5.5  2560x1440  128  200
 S7        5.1"  5.4  2560x1440   64  200
 S6 Edge+  5.7"  5.4  2560x1440  128  ---
 S6 Edge   5.1"  4.7  2560x1440  128  ---
 S6        5.1"  4.9  2560x1440  128  ---
 S5        5.1"  5.1  1920x1080   32  200
 S4        5.0"  4.6  1920x1080   64   64
 S III     4.8"  4.7  1280x720    64   64
 S II      4.3"  4.0   800x480    32   32
 S         4.0"  4.0   800x480    32   32

 ** microSD External storage

Galaxy S21 (January 2021)
Prices are less than S20 models due to plastic backs, eliminating the rounded edge on the screens and reducing RAM from 12GB to 8GB. The Ultra has a 5000 mAh battery and is the first non-Note phone that supports Samsung's S Pen. The Ultra has four camera lenses and the same 108MP wide angle camera as the Note 20. See Galaxy Note.

Galaxy S20 FE, S20 FE 56 (October 2020)
The FE (Fan Edition) models are the entry level for the S20 line. Back is plastic instead of glass but is $300 less than non-FE model. Optical fingerprint reader instead of ultrasonic sensor. Also supports 120Hz video.

Galaxy S20 (February 2020)
All models have low-band and mid-band 5G; Ultra has high-band (see 5G frequency bands). No more 3.5mm headphones jack, larger batteries, 120 Hz display and 8K video. 30x zoom on S20/S20+, 100x on Ultra.

Galaxy S10 - (April 2019)
S10 5G has massive 6.7" screen, 5G cellular and six cameras, including rear infrared camera to enhance depth for augmented reality (AR).

Galaxy S9 - (April 2018)
Similar to S8; however, S9 has a new camera with increased brightness and a more efficient processor for better battery life. Fingerprint sensor is easier to reach.

Galaxy S8 - (April 2017)
Physical home button dropped, and fingerprint reader moved to back. Curved screens and rotating toolbars like S7 Edge. S8+ taller than S7 Edge. Type C USB replaces Micro USB, and Samsung's Bixby added (see USB Type C and Bixby).

Screen Selection
Starting with the S8, the screen can be switched to three resolutions. Lower resolutions save battery.

Galaxy S7 (April 2016)
Dust and water-resistant. Slightly thicker and heavier. External SD card brought back, and non-removable battery bumped from 2,550 to 3,000 mAh (3,600 in Edge model). New camera sensor and faster auto-focus. See Galaxy S7 Edge.

Always Available Time
The S7 introduced always-on time, date and battery level, which consumes very little power.

Galaxy S6 (April 2015)
Slightly thinner, more refined case. Qi wireless charging added. No more replaceable battery or SD card. Fast battery charging and a minimum 32GB of storage. S6 Edge has curved screens (see Galaxy S6 Edge).

Galaxy S5 (April 2014)
Built-in heart rate sensor and fingerprint reader. 16MP photos with advanced modes; depth of field can be changed later. Waterproof for a short period in one meter of water, and S5 can be a baby monitor sending signals to Samsung smartwatch (see Samsung Gear).

Galaxy S4 (April 2013)
Slightly thinner. 13MP rear camera, automatic album creation and simultaneous front/back recording. Higher-capacity battery, infrared (IR) blaster for home theater. Support for hand motion scrolling and zooming. Eye tracking pauses video if user stops watching.

Google Nexus

An Android smartphone and tablet brand from Google that is "pure Android," meaning that there are no added user interface features or extra apps from the device maker or carrier, many of which cannot be removed by the user.

Open Source or Closely Controlled
Although Google promotes Android as an open source platform for all hardware vendors, it collaborates with some of them to create Nexus-branded phones and tabletsthat must adhere to Google standards. In 2010, Google sold the HTC-manufactured Nexus One directly from its website. Subsequently, Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus phones from Samsung were offered by the carriers. In 2012, Google resurrected its e-commerce site to directly sell Nexus devices from Samsung, LG and others.

Motorola Mobility - In, Then Out
Also in 2012, Google acquired Motorola's phone division (Motorola Mobility), and although later spun off to Lenovo, Motorola introduced the Nexus 6 phone in 2014, followed by tablets from HTC. Also in 2014, a set-top box made by Asus was introduced (see Nexus Player), and smartphones from LG (Nexus 5X) and Huawei (Nexus 6P) followed in 2015. In 2016, Google introduced the Pixel smartphone. Made by HTC, the Pixel brand is the successor to the Nexus lines (see Pixel phone). See Android and Nexus One.

Google Nexus 6P
Introduced in late 2014, Motorola's Nexus 6P phone (left) shares the same 2560x1440 resolution as the Galaxy Note 4. The Nexus 6 was the first device to support Google's wireless network (see Google Fi). (Image courtesy of
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