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.
The number 2.51 million light years has been reached through three separate methods for determining the distance to an astronomical object.
- Cepheid variables
- Eclipsing binary star
- Measurement of brightness of individual stars and comparing to the distance to the Magellanic Clouds