Andromeda galaxy

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The Andromeda Galaxy is a Spiral Galaxy similar to the Milky Way, and situated within the same Galactic Cluster.

It is situated about 2.51 ± 0.13 million light years from the Milky Way, and it is on a collision course with us to hit sometime in about 3 to 5 billion years; it is likely to move, 'through' our galaxy, although, since both are mostly empty space, it is unlikely that planets or stars will collide.[1][2]

The number 2.51 million light years has been reached through three separate methods for determining the distance to an astronomical object.

  1. Cepheid variables
  2. Eclipsing binary star[3]
  3. Measurement of brightness of individual stars and comparing to the distance to the Magellanic Clouds

References

  1. http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn7916
  2. http://www.cita.utoronto.ca/~dubinski/tflops/tflops/
  3. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2005ApJ...635L..37R