The Milky Way is a barred spiral-type galaxy estimated to be about a hundred thousand light-years in diameter, and contains over 200 billion stars; many of which have planets. Like most large galaxies, it has a supermassive black hole in its center.
The Milky Way and its satellite galaxies (including the two Magellanic Clouds) are part of a relatively small Local Group of gravitationally bound galaxies which also includes the Andromeda and the Triangulum as well as their respective satellites and other small galaxies. This Local Group is itself contained within the vast Laniakea Supercluster.
- In the Doctor Who universe, the Time Lords and other aliens refer to this galaxy by the name Mutter's Spiral.
- In the Dragon Ball universe, the Milky Way is known as the North Galaxy.
- A star such as Sol, located in the galactic rim, takes about 240 million years to make a complete orbit around the galaxy.