Proper grammar?

Milky Way galaxy or

Milky Way Galaxy?

Not sure if “galaxy” is technically part of the name and whether it should be capitalized or not..

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  • 1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    When astronomers thought our Galaxy was the only one, its name was simply "the Galaxy" (with a capital G)

    When it was finally accepted that some nebulae (plural of nebula - things that looked "cloudy" in early telescopes) were also like our Galaxy, the word galaxy (small g) was used as a simile (a word to show something is similar).  Other galaxies were named according to their location in the sky.

    For example, the Andromeda galaxy is seen in the constellation we call Andromeda.

    A French astronomer called Charles Messier (pronounced MAY-see-hay) had started a catalogue of things that looked fuzzy in his telescope. He was a comet hunter and he was annoyed by these fuzze objects (that were not comets) that ended up wasting his time when he stumbled across them. Soon, other astronomers started to use Messier's numbering system.

    The Andromeda galaxy was also known as M-31 (object number 31 is Messier's catalogue). This was fortunate, as other galaxies were also found in the same constellation (M-32 and M-110).

    As telescopes improved, more galaxies were found. Some were named based on their appearance (Pinwheel galaxy M-101 , Sombrero galaxy M-104). Eventually, the number kept increasing (as telescopes got better) and a "New General Catalog" (NGC) was started, for all "fuzzy objects".

    The idea of capitalizing everything is rather recent and was started in the USA. It has slowly crept into other English-speaking countries but there are still many authors (and many scientific journals) who don't use the Exaggerated-Capital-Letter malady.

    The Milky Way is the name of a band of stars, where each one is too faint to be seen but where the combined light of millions of them is registered by the brain as a faint glow. It is caused by the parts of the Galactic spiral arms that are closest to us. Thus, the Milky Way is contained within our Galaxy.

    Galaxy (big G) is the name of our Galaxy. Other galaxies have proper names that can be followed by the simile "galaxy" (small g); unless you are writing for an American journal where they expect the big G.

    Milky Way is a band of light that allows us to see (from the inside) a part of our Galaxy.  Therefore it is OK to call our Galaxy the "Milky Way Galaxy" (a descriptive name that highlights the fact that it is the Galaxy that contains the Milky Way.

    The word "galaxy" comes from a Greek word meaning "milky".

    While we are at it:

    The name of our star is the Sun (big S). The simile "sun" (small s) is often used to talk about other stars, especially those known to have planets around them.

    The name of our satellite is Moon (big M). The simile "moon" is often used to talk about natural satellites around other planets (for example, the moons of Jupiter).

    Some American astronomical journals will insist that these two names should be written with lower-case letters (the sun, the moon), leaving their readers with the false impression that these objects do not have names.

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  • Clive
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Galaxy is a common noun as there are other galaxies, the Milky Way isn't the only one, so "Milky Way galaxy" is correct.

    Back when we thought there was only one galaxy, "The Galaxy" made sense to mean the Milky Way.  But now we know better.

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  • ANDY
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    Our galaxy is the Milky Way. You say galaxy with a capital G only when you are talking about our galaxy. This is because astronomers decided that you can name it Galaxy (a proper name) without mentioning Milky Way. Like this...."The Galaxy has a diameter...." But if you want to say "the Milky Way galaxy....." then the g is not capitalized. Besides, you say "Our galaxy's diameter...." also without capitalizing the g. (A wife will not say "My John is going fishing tomorrow─she says "John is going....)

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  • 1 month ago

    The former!  Our galaxy is called the Milky Way, not the Milky Way Galaxy - you can make a better case for capitalising the "t" than the "g".

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  • Zardoz
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    New York City.   

    Source(s): [n] = 10ⁿ
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  • I would call it the Milky Way Galaxy and care less what the Grammar nazis thing about it.

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  • Rick
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    'galaxy' is NOT part the the name, just an identifier ............so it doesn't have to be capitalized .................

    • CarolOkla
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      Milky and.Way are.modifiers of the proper.noun Galaxy. Andromeda galaxy is correct because there are 12 Andromeda galaxies. galaxy is NOT a proper.noun in that particular context.

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  • 1 month ago

    Milky Way Galaxy

    Proper names should be capitalized. 

    This is a punctuation rule. not a grammar rule

     

    • Clive
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      "Galaxy" is not a proper noun in this context.  Learn some English.  It IS a grammar rule.

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