Have you ever wondered what kind of galaxy the Milky Way is? You’ve probably seen pictures of a spiral looking mass. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy, which is the most common kind of galaxy in the universe.

A barred spiral galaxy, as the name suggests, is a galaxy that forms a spiral with a bar running through it. Seen from the side, though, it simply looks like a circle. You have to look at it from a different angle to see the spiral. The bar running through the galaxy is actually a group of stars from the center of the galaxy. A scientific study done by Kartik Sheth says that a spiral galaxy with a bar is considered a mature galaxy, since galaxies develop bars as they evolve.

A barred spiral galaxy is categorized into A, B, or C, according to how tightly wound the arms are over the bar. A is for the most tightly wound galaxies and C is for the more open galaxies. The arms of a barred spiral galaxy are usually made up of dust and gas, along with a few scattered stars. Nearly half of the spiral galaxies in the universe are considered barred spiral galaxies.

Milky Way Galaxy