Milky Way's satellite galaxies
There are between 14 and 26 small galaxies confirmed to be within 420 kpc (~1.4 million light years) of the Milky Way, though not all of them are necessarily in orbit. Of those, the only ones visible to the naked eye are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which have been observed since prehistory. Measurements with the Hubble Space Telescope in 2006 suggest the Magellanic Clouds may be moving too fast to be orbiting the Milky Way. Of those galaxies confirmed to be in orbit, the largest is the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy, which has a diameter of 20,000 light years, or roughly a fifth that of the Milky Way.
The Milky Way's satellite galaxies include the following:
|Name||Diameter (kpc)|| Distance
|Canis Major Dwarf||1.5||8||Irr||2003|
|Ursa Major II Dwarf||0.2||30||dG D||2006|
|Ursa Minor Dwarf||0.4||60||dE4||1954|
|Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy||0.8||90||dE3||1937|
|Ursa Major I Dwarf||-||100||dG D||2005|
|Canes Venatici I||2||220||dSph||2006|
|Canes Venatici II||0.3||155||dSph||2006|
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The Sagittarius Dwarf is in the process of being consumed by the Milky Way, and is expected to pass through it within the next 100 million years. The Sagittarius Stream is a stream of stars in polar orbit around the Milky Way leeched from the Sagittarius Dwarf. The Virgo Stellar Stream is a stream of stars that is believed to have once been an orbiting dwarf galaxy that has been completely distended by the Milky Way's gravity.
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