Spiral galaxy
A spiral galaxy is a certain kind of galaxy
A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system that consists of stars and stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust, and an important but poorly understood component tentatively dubbed dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias , literally "milky", a...

 originally described by Edwin Hubble
Edwin Hubble
Edwin Powell Hubble was an American astronomer who profoundly changed the understanding of the universe by confirming the existence of galaxies other than the Milky Way - our own galaxy...

 in his 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae and, as such, forms part of the Hubble sequence
Hubble sequence
The Hubble sequence is a morphological classification scheme for galaxies invented by Edwin Hubble in 1926. It is often known colloquially as the Hubble tuning-fork diagram because of the shape in which it is traditionally represented....

. Spiral galaxies consist of a flat, rotating disk containing star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

s, gas and dust
Interstellar medium
In astronomy, the interstellar medium is the matter that exists in the space between the star systems in a galaxy. This matter includes gas in ionic, atomic, and molecular form, dust, and cosmic rays. It fills interstellar space and blends smoothly into the surrounding intergalactic space...

, and a central concentration of stars known as the bulge
Bulge (astronomy)
In astronomy, a bulge is a tightly packed group of stars within a larger formation. The term almost exclusively refers to the central group of stars found in most spiral galaxies...

. These are surrounded by a much fainter halo
Galactic halo
The term galactic halo is used to denote an extended, roughly spherical component of a galaxy, which extends beyond the main, visible component. It can refer to any of several distinct components which share these properties:* the galactic spheroid...

 of stars, many of which reside in globular cluster
Globular cluster
A globular cluster is a spherical collection of stars that orbits a galactic core as a satellite. Globular clusters are very tightly bound by gravity, which gives them their spherical shapes and relatively high stellar densities toward their centers. The name of this category of star cluster is...


Spiral galaxies are named for the spiral
In mathematics, a spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting progressively farther away as it revolves around the point.-Spiral or helix:...

 structures that extend from the center into the disk.