The Andromeda Galaxy is about 2.5 million light-years from Earth and a spiral galaxy that is also known as Messier 31 or M31. Located in the Andromeda constellation, our solar system’s closest spiral galaxy is only a few million light-years away. Surprisingly, it isn’t even close to being the nearest overall galaxy as well!
The Andromeda galaxy is far and away from the largest member of a small group called “Local Group” which includes 54 galaxies, including our Milky Way. It’s also been found to be two trillion times as bright as previously thought!
Facts About The Andromeda Galaxy
- The Andromeda Galaxy is named after the constellation it resides in, which happens to be called “Andromeda.”
- The Andromeda galaxy is the largest in our Local Group.
- According to a 2006 study, the Milky Way is about 80% of the size of Andromeda.
- Astrophysicists estimate that there are around 1 trillion stars in the galaxy, while our Milky Way has 200-400 billion.
- The Andromeda Galaxy is home to at least 450 globular clusters that orbit and surround the galaxy. Some of these are considered some of the most densely populated globulars ever seen!
- The Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies will merge in approximately 3.75 billion years to form a giant elliptical galaxy, according to scientists.
- Astronomers believe that M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, was formed between 5 and 9 billion years ago when two smaller galaxies collided and merged.
- The Andromeda Galaxy is a bright, star-filled galaxy that can be seen with the naked eye on moonless nights.
- The Andromeda Galaxy is coming straight for our Milky Way at a rate of 110 kilometers per second (68 miles/hour).