Imagine that our entire Solar System were the size of a quarter. The Sun is now a microscopic speck of dust, as are its planets, whose orbits are represented by the flat disc of the coin. On this scale, the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy will be about the size of the United States! How far away is the nearest star to our sun? In our model, Proxima Centauri and any planets that might be around it would be another quarter, two soccer fields away. This is the typical separation of stars in our part of the galaxy.
Best ever map of Milky Way shows our galaxy is warped in an S-shape
Milky Way - Wikipedia
Milky Way Galaxy , large spiral system consisting of several hundred billion stars , one of which is the Sun. It takes its name from the Milky Way, the irregular luminous band of stars and gas clouds that stretches across the sky as seen from Earth. Although Earth lies well within the Milky Way Galaxy sometimes simply called the Galaxy , astronomers do not have as complete an understanding of its nature as they do of some external star systems. A thick layer of interstellar dust obscures much of the Galaxy from scrutiny by optical telescopes , and astronomers can determine its large-scale structure only with the aid of radio and infrared telescopes , which can detect the forms of radiation that penetrate the obscuring matter. This article discusses the structure, properties, and component parts of the Milky Way Galaxy.
We can start with taking the size of the Milky Way Galaxy and relating that size to the size of a marble and then from that calculate the distance between our marble and those of the most distant galaxies in the Universe. The first thing to know is that, if we were being accurate about it, our marble wouldn't be round at all but much more like an air hockey puck. The next question is to ask is Where are we measuring to?
You can check out the archive of this conversation here and learn more! This topic necessarily involves asking: Where are we in the Universe? That is, we humans.