Andromeda galaxy three times larger than thought

Posted on Monday, May 30 2005 @ 23:58 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
New measurements suggest the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest galaxy to our own Milky Way, is three times bigger than astronomers had thought. They discovered a thin sprinkling of stars once thought to be a halo is in fact part of the spiral galaxy's main disk.

The Andromeda galaxy is now estimated to be more than 220,00 light-years across, triple the previous estimate of 70,000 to 80,000 light-year.

An old picture of the Andromeda galaxy

A group of scientists studied the motions of about 3,000 stars and discovered they are not a halo but a part of the galaxy's disk. They found out that that the stars are sited in the plane of the Andromeda disk itself and move at a velocity which suggests they are in orbit around the center of the Andromeda galaxy. More info at Reuters

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