What is the largest Galaxy in the Known Universe?

I sometimes forget just how big things can be in the Universe.  And I often forget just how small and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.  Then I see a Galaxy like IC 1101 side by side with our own and I very quickly remember.

About 350 Million light years from Earth IC 1101 is the largest galaxy in the known Universe in terms of actual size.

Largest Galaxy
Credit: Discovery HD

If you didn’t notice the image above, it shows our own Milky Way Galaxy as a little tiny dot in the bottom left corner, and then Andromeda our closest neighbour, before showing a ‘large; galaxy like M87.  Still this pales in comparison to the giant IC 1101.

*Note: After a bit of research it appears the image has a typo, stating IC 1011 is the largest.  The correct designation is IC 1101.

Galaxies this large can only be found in the center of massive galaxy superclusters.  This guy has been chomping on smaller galaxies for billions of years.

Reminds us how insane the universe really is.

Note: Just a short post today – At a teaching conference.

3 thoughts on “What is the largest Galaxy in the Known Universe?

  1. Chris

    This article states that IC 1011 is the largest galaxy in the known universe. Then there are other articles claiming that IC1101 is the largest galaxy in the known universe. So which galaxy is the largest IC1011 or IC1101?



    1. Great question! After doing a bit of research, I think it’s a typo. IC 1011 appeared in a discovery documentary and images depicting the largest galaxy, but I believe they made a typo. The images of 1011 (http://www.skyfactory.org/deepskycatalogue/IC1011.html) show what looks like a pretty average spiral galaxy. IC 1101 has a lot more reliable data as being 20 times the diameter and 2000 times the mass of the Milky Way, reasonable for a giant elliptical galaxy. I will fix the typo I followed from the discovery image, so thanks for the catch. IC 1101 is the right one.

  2. rachid hayyan

    what about to compare IC 1011 and IC 1101 with some pictures … i would like to see them

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