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Our Milky Way isn’t as unique as we thought — there’s a twin galaxy 320 million light-years away

It’s no surprise the Milky Way is the most-studied galaxy in the universe, given it’s where we live.

But studying just one galaxy can only tell us so much about the complex processes by which galaxies form and evolve.

One crucial question that can’t be solved without looking farther afield is whether the Milky Way is a run-of-the-mill galaxy, or whether it’s unusual or even unique.

Our research, published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, suggests the former is true. Key details of our galaxy’s structure are shared by other nearby galaxies, suggesting our home isn’t all that special.