The closest neighbor galaxy to our very own Milky Way galaxy is the Andromeda galaxy. It was once thought to be a nebula but later, as technology developed, scientists figured out that it was actually a full-scale galaxy. Though our current technology is not sufficient enough to take us to Andromeda, it at least allows us to study the galactic body in a better way with greater details. So, are you ready for 20 interesting Andromeda galaxy facts? Of course you are! We know your curious brain is hungry!
Interesting Andromeda Galaxy Facts: 1-10
1. The Andromeda is a spiral galaxy which is located at a distance of 2.5 million light years from our galaxy. From earth, this spiral galaxy is at a distance of 2.4×1019 kilometers.
2. Andromeda is also known as Messier 31 or in short, M31.
3. In the galaxy cluster known as the Local Group, Andromeda is the largest galaxy. The Local Group is a cluster of 54 galaxies including Milky Way and Triangulum.
4. Scientists estimate that there are 1 trillion stars in the galaxy.
5. The estimated mass of Andromeda is 400 billion solar masses. Put in other words, it has the mass equivalent to the mass of 400 billion suns (by sun we are referring to the sun in our solar system).
6. The diameter of this spiral galaxy is estimated to be 260,000 light years.
7. Though Andromeda is the largest galaxy, it is not the most massive one in Local Cluster. According to scientists, Milky Way is the most massive galaxy because of more dark matter in it.
8. The Andromeda is headed towards Milky Way at a speed of 100-140 kilometers per second.
9. Scientists estimate that Andromeda will clash with Milky Way in nearly 4 billion years.
10. Andromeda has a double nucleus. At the very center or the core of the galaxy is a massive cluster of stars. But at the core, there is also at least one super-massive black hole.
Interesting Andromeda Galaxy Facts: 11-20
11. In 2010, it was proposed by a team of astronomers that some 5 to 9 billion years ago, two smaller galaxies collided with each other and merged together, forming the Andromeda galaxy.
12. The apparent magnitude (a measurement for brightness) of this spiral galaxy is 3.4, which makes it visible to naked eyes from earth on a clear moonless night.
13. This galaxy appears in the area of Andromeda constellation and hence it is named as Andromeda galaxy. Andromeda was the name of mythical Greek princess.
14. Scientists often call Andromeda galaxy to be a big bully. The two satellite galaxies of Andromeda, the M32 and M110 are the worst sufferers. Andromeda once ripped off a large chunk of M32’s stellar disk and also ripped off a large stream of stars from M110.
15. Apart from the super-massive black hole at the center of Andromeda, there are 26 more black holes inside this galaxy.
16. The gigantic stellar stream which orbits the galaxy like a wispy cloud actually the remains of an ancient companion galaxy which Andromeda ripped off billions of years ago. Hubble Space Telescope reported that the massive celestial ring-like wispy clouds around Andromeda are actually remains of stars from the ripped off galaxy.
17. Galaxy Evolution Explorer of NASA spotted pockets of young, relatively old and old stars in Andromeda Galaxy. In the image below, the blue areas represent young stars, the green areas represent relative old stars and the yellow dots represent the old stars.
18. Andromeda’s spiral arms are distorted. This distortion is caused by the gravitational tug of the companions M32 and M110.
19. Around 450 globular clusters orbit in and around this spiral galaxy. Some of these globular clusters are actually amongst the most densely populated ever recorded.
20. Once the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy collide together, scientists expect that the resulting entity will be a gigantic elliptical galaxy.