ngc224

The Great Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy, also known as Messier 31 or NGC 224, is a spiral galaxy that is approximately 2.5 million light-years away in the Andromeda constellation. The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy, but not the nearest galaxy overall. The Andromeda Galaxy is also the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 44 other smaller galaxies. Our Milky Way and the Andromeda are expected to collide in around 3.75 billion years, eventually merging to form a giant elliptical or large disk galaxy. The collision will not effect most matter in the galaxies, because space is so large most matter will only interact gravitationally. However, The Gas clouds of the the two galaxies will collide and begin to form new stars.

Credit: NASA/Hubble

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M31 & SATELLITE GALAXIES by Alan Tough
Via Flickr:
The Andromeda Galaxy from November 2008. Imaging equipment: Sky-Watcher 80ED, HEQ5 mount, Canon EOS 300D at prime focus, Astronomik CLS filter. Exposure details: 6 x 12-minute sub-frames @ f/7.5, ISO-800. Guiding equipment: Sky-Watcher 100ED, StarShoot Autoguider.

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