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What is the galactic equator?

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Quick Answer

The galactic equator is a term used by astronomers to describe an imaginary line through the center of the Milky Way's thickness. The Milky Way also has north and south poles that are located perpendicular to the equator.

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Full Answer

The Milky Way is around 100,000 light years across, but it is also has a thickness of around 1,000 light years. The solar system moves up and down in the Milky Way, crossing the galactic equator as it moves. It takes 64 million years for the solar system to make one cycle below and back above the galactic equator. Some claimed that the solar system crossed the galactic equator in 2012, but that claim was only a myth.

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