This is the Andromeda Galaxy. It is located 2.5 million light years from earth and it is the closest spiral galaxy
and the largest galaxy in our local group of galaxies. It is visible to the naked eye.
Our local group consists of around 54 galaxies which are all bound by gravity. The gravitational centre of the local group is somewhere between the Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy.
The Andromeda Galaxy is moving towards us at about 100 to 140 kilometres per second and it will collide with the Milky way galaxy in around five billion years. Galaxies outside our local group move away from us as a result of the inflation of the universe. The Andromeda Galaxy contains around one trillion stars, which is at least twice the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy, but recent findings suggest that our Milky Way Galaxy is the more massive because it contains more dark matter.
Photo Credit: NASA
|Return to the Homepage