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Andromeda Galaxy

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Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy

Observation data (J2000 epoch)




Right ascension

00h 42m 44.3s[1]


+41 16 9[1]


z = 0.001001
(minus sign
indicates blueshift)[1]

Helio radial velocity

301 1 km/s[2]


2.54 0.11 Mly

(778 33 kpc)[2][3][4][5][6][a]



~1.51012[7] M

Size (ly)

~220 kly (diameter)[8]

Number of stars

1 trillion (1012)[9]

Apparent dimensions (V)

190 60[1]

Apparent magnitude (V)


Absolute magnitude (V)


Other designations
M31, NGC 224, UGC 454, PGC 2557, 2C 56 (Core),[1]
CGCG 535-17, MCG +07-02-016, IRAS 00400+4059,
2MASX J00424433+4116074, GC 116, h 50, Bode 3,
Flamsteed 58, Hevelius 32, Ha 3.3, IRC +40013
See also: Galaxy, List of galaxies

The Andromeda Galaxy (/ndrmd/), also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224,
is a spiral galaxy approximately 780 kiloparsecs (2.5 million light-years) from Earth.[4] It is
the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way and was often referred to as the Great
Andromeda Nebula in older texts. It received its name from the area of the sky in which it
appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which was named after the mythological princess
Andromeda. Being approximately 220,000 light years across, it is the largest galaxy of the
Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 44
other smaller galaxies.
The Andromeda Galaxy is the most massive galaxy in the Local Group as well.[7] Despite
earlier findings that suggested that the Milky Way contains more dark matter and could be
the most massive in the grouping,[12] the 2006 observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope
revealed that Andromeda contains one trillion (1012) stars:[9] at least twice the number of
stars in the Milky Way, which is estimated to be 200400 billion.[13]
The Andromeda Galaxy is estimated to be 1.51012 solar masses,[7] while the mass of the
Milky Way is estimated to be 8.51011 solar masses. In comparison, a 2009 study estimated
that the Milky Way and M31 are about equal in mass,[14] while a 2006 study put the mass of
the Milky Way at ~80% of the mass of the Andromeda Galaxy. The Milky Way and
Andromeda are expected to collide in 3.75 billion years, eventually merging to form a giant
elliptical galaxy [15] or perhaps a large disk galaxy.[16]
The apparent magnitude of the Andromeda Galaxy, at 3.4, is one of the brightest of any of
the Messier objects,[17] making it visible to the naked eye on moonless nights even when
viewed from areas with moderate light pollution. Although it appears more than six times
as wide as the full Moon when photographed through a larger telescope, only the brighter

central region is visible to the naked eye or when viewed using binoculars or a small
telescope, making it appear similar to a star.


1 Observation history
o 1.1 Island universe
2 General
o 2.1 Formation and history
o 2.2 Recent distance estimate
o 2.3 Mass and luminosity estimates
2.3.1 Mass
2.3.2 Luminosity
3 Structure
4 Nucleus
5 Discrete sources
6 Satellites
7 Collision with the Milky Way
8 See also
9 Notes
10 References
11 External links

Observation history[edit]

Great Andromeda Nebula by Isaac Roberts, 1899

The Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi wrote a line about the chained constellation
in his Book of Fixed Stars around 964, describing the Andromeda Galaxy as a "small
cloud".[18][19] Star charts of that period labeled as the Little Cloud.[19] The first description of
the Andromeda Galaxy based on telescopic observation was given by German astronomer
Simon Marius on December 15, 1612.[20] Charles Messier catalogued Andromeda as object
M31 in 1764 and incorrectly credited Marius as the discoverer despite it being visible to the
naked eye. In 1785, the astronomer William Herschel noted a faint reddish hue in the core
region of M31. He believed M31 to be the nearest of all the "great nebulae" and based on

the color and magnitude of the nebula, he incorrectly guessed that it is no more than 2,000
times the distance of Sirius.[21] In 1850 William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, saw and made
the first drawing of Andromeda's spiral structure.
William Huggins in 1864 observed the spectrum of M31 and noted that it differs from a
gaseous nebula.[22] The spectra of M31 displays a continuum of frequencies, superimposed
with dark absorption lines that help identify the chemical composition of an object. M31's
spectrum is very similar to the spectra of individual stars, and from this it was deduced that
M31 has a stellar nature. In 1885, a supernova (known as S Andromedae) was seen in M31,
the first and so far only one observed in that galaxy. At the time M31 was considered to be
a nearby object, so the cause was thought to be a much less luminous and unrelated event
called a nova, and was named accordingly "Nova 1885".[23]

M31 above the Very Large Telescope.[24]

The first photographs of M31 were taken in 1887 by Isaac Roberts from his private
observatory in Sussex, England. However, at the time this object was still commonly
believed to be a nebula within our galaxy, and Roberts mistakenly believed that M31 and
similar spiral nebulae were actually solar systems being formed, with the satellites nascent
planets.[citation needed] The radial velocity of M31 with respect to our solar system was measured
in 1912 by Vesto Slipher at the Lowell Observatory, using spectroscopy. The result was the
largest velocity recorded at that time, at 300 kilometres per second (190 mi/s), moving in
the direction of the Sun.[25]

Island universe[edit]

Location of M31 in the Andromeda constellation

In 1917, American astronomer Heber Curtis observed a nova within M31. Searching the
photographic record, 11 more novae were discovered. Curtis noticed that these novae were,
on average, 10 magnitudes fainter than those that occurred elsewhere in the sky. As a result,

he was able to come up with a distance estimate of 500,000 light-years (3.21010 AU). He
became a proponent of the so-called "island universes" hypothesis, which held that spiral
nebulae were actually independent galaxies.[26]
In 1920, the Great Debate between Harlow Shapley and Curtis took place, concerning the
nature of the Milky Way, spiral nebulae, and the dimensions of the universe. To support his
claim of the Great Andromeda Nebula being, in fact, an external galaxy, Curtis also noted
the appearance of dark lanes resembling the dust clouds in our own galaxy within
Andromeda- the Milky Way- as well as the significant Doppler shift that he had observed of
Andromeda. In 1922 Ernst pik presented a method to estimate the distance of M31 using
the measured velocities of its stars. His result placed the Andromeda Nebula far outside our
galaxy at a distance of about 450,000 parsecs (1,500,000 ly).[27] Edwin Hubble settled the
debate in 1925 when he identified extra-galactic Cepheid variable stars for the first time on
astronomical photos of M31. These were made using the 2.5-metre (100-in) Hooker
telescope, and they enabled the distance of Great Andromeda Nebula to be determined. His
measurement demonstrated conclusively that this feature was not a cluster of stars and gas
within our own Galaxy, but an entirely separate galaxy located a significant distance from
the Milky Way.[28]
M31 plays an important role in galactic studies, as it is the nearest major galaxy (although
not the nearest galaxy). In 1943 Walter Baade was the first person to resolve stars in the
central region of the Andromeda Galaxy. Baade identified two distinct populations of stars
based on their metallicity, naming the young, high velocity stars in the disk Type I and the
older, red stars in the bulge Type II. This nomenclature was subsequently adopted for stars
within the Milky Way, and elsewhere. (The existence of two distinct populations had been
noted earlier by Jan Oort.)[29] Baade also discovered that there were two types of Cepheid
variables, which resulted in a doubling of the distance estimate to M31, as well as the
remainder of the Universe.[30]
Radio emission from the Andromeda Galaxy was first detected by Hanbury Brown and
Cyril Hazard at Jodrell Bank Observatory using the 218-ft Transit Telescope, and was
announced in 1950[31][32] (Earlier observations were made by radio astronomy pioneer Grote
Reber in 1940, but were inconclusive, and were later shown to be an order of magnitude too
high). The first radio maps of the galaxy were made in the 1950s by John Baldwin and
collaborators at the Cambridge Radio Astronomy Group.[33] The core of the Andromeda
Galaxy is called 2C 56 in the 2C radio astronomy catalogue. In 2009, the first planet may
have been discovered in the Andromeda Galaxy. This candidate was detected using a
technique called microlensing, which is caused by the deflection of light by a massive


The Andromeda Galaxy as seen by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

The estimated distance of the Andromeda Galaxy was doubled in 1953 when it was
discovered that there is another, dimmer type of Cepheid. In the 1990s, measurements of
both standard red giants as well as red clump stars from the Hipparcos satellite
measurements were used to calibrate the Cepheid distances.[35][36]

Formation and history[edit]

According to a team of astronomers reporting in 2010, M31 was formed out of the collision
of two smaller galaxies between 5 and 9 billion years ago.[37]
A paper published in 2012[38] has outlined M31's basic history since its birth. According to
it, Andromeda was born roughly 10 billion years ago from the merger of many smaller
protogalaxies, leading to a galaxy smaller than the one we see today.
The most important event in M31's history was the merger mentioned above that took place
8 billion years ago. This violent collision formed most of its (metal-rich) galactic halo and
extended disk and during that epoch Andromeda's star formation would have been very
high, to the point of becoming a luminous infrared galaxy for roughly 100 million years.
M31 and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33) had a very close passage 24 billion years ago.
This event produced high levels of star formation across the Andromeda Galaxy's disk
even some globular clusters and disturbed M33's outer disk.
While there has been activity during the last 2 billion years, this has been much lower than
during the past. During this epoch, star formation throughout M31's disk was thought to
have decreased to the point of near-inactivity, however, such activity had increased
relatively recently. There have been interactions with satellite galaxies like M32, M110, or
others that have already been absorbed by M31. These interactions have formed structures
like Andromeda's Giant Stellar Stream. A merger roughly 100 million years ago is believed
to be responsible for a counter-rotating disk of gas found in the center of M31 as well as the
presence there of a relatively young (100 million years old) stellar population.

Recent distance estimate[edit]

At least four distinct techniques have been used to estimate distances to the Andromeda
In 2003, using the infrared surface brightness fluctuations (I-SBF) and adjusting for the
new period-luminosity value of Freedman et al. 2001 and using a metallicity correction of
0.2 mag dex1 in (O/H), an estimate of 2.57 0.06 million light-years
(1.6251011 3.8109 AU) was derived.

The Andromeda Galaxy pictured in ultraviolet light by GALEX

Using the Cepheid variable method, an estimate of 2.51 0.13 million light-years (770
40 kpc) was reported in 2004.[2][3]
In 2005 Ignasi Ribas (CSIC, Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC)) and
colleagues announced the discovery of an eclipsing binary star in the Andromeda Galaxy.
The binary star, designated M31VJ00443799+4129236,[c] has two luminous and hot blue
stars of types O and B. By studying the eclipses of the stars, which occur every
3.54969 days, astronomers were able to measure their sizes. Knowing the sizes and
temperatures of the stars, they were able to measure their absolute magnitude. When the
visual and absolute magnitudes are known, the distance to the star can be measured. The
stars lie at a distance of 2.52106 0.14106 ly (1.5941011 8.9109 AU) and the whole
Andromeda Galaxy at about 2.5106 ly (1.61011 AU).[4] This new value is in excellent
agreement with the previous, independent Cepheid-based distance value.
M31 is close enough that the Tip of the Red Giant Branch (TRGB) method may also be
used to estimate its distance. The estimated distance to M31 using this technique in 2005
yielded 2.56106 0.08106 ly (1.6191011 5.1109 AU).[5]
Averaged together, all these distance estimates give a combined value of
2.54106 0.11106 ly (1.6061011 7.0109 AU).[a] And, from this, the diameter of M31 at

the widest point is estimated to be 220 3 kly (67,450 920 pc). Applying trigonometry
(angular diameter), this is equivalent to an apparent 4.96 angle in the sky.

Mass and luminosity estimates[edit]


Giant halo around Andromeda Galaxy.[39]

Mass estimates for the Andromeda Galaxy's halo (including dark matter) give a value of
approximately 1.51012 M[7] (or 1.5 trillion solar masses) compared to 81011 M for the
Milky Way. This contradicts earlier measurements, that seem to indicate that Andromeda
and the Milky Way are almost equal in mass. Even so, M31's spheroid actually has a higher
stellar density than that of the Milky Way[40] and its galactic stellar disk is about twice the
size of that of the Milky Way.[8] The total stellar mass of Andromeda is estimated to be
1.11011 M.,[41][42] (i.e., around twice as massive as that of the Milky Way), or up to
1.51011 M according to other estimates, with around 30% of that mass in the central
bulge, 56% in the disk, and the remaining 14% in the halo.[43]
In addition to it, M31's interstellar medium contains at least around 7.2109 M[44] in the
form of neutral hydrogen, at least 3.4108 M as molecular hydrogen (within its innermost
10 kiloparsecs), and 5.4107 M of dust.[45]
Studies made with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope and published in 2015, have
uncovered a large and massive halo of hot gas enveloping M31. This halo is estimated to
contain half the mass of the stars in the Andromeda galaxy itself. As of May 7, 2015, the
halo is about six times larger and 1,000 times more massive than previously measured. The
nearly invisible halo stretches about a million light-years from its host galaxy, halfway to
our Milky Way galaxy. Simulations of galaxies indicate the halo formed at the same time as
the Andromeda galaxy. The halo is enriched in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium,
formed from supernovae and its properties are the expected on a galaxy that lies in the
green valley of the color-magnitude diagram (see below. The supernovae erupt in
Andromeda's star-filled disk and eject these heavier elements into space. Over Andromeda's
lifetime, nearly half of the heavy elements made by its stars have been ejected far beyond
the galaxy's 200,000-light-year-diameter stellar disk.[46][47][48][49][50]

M31 appears to have significantly more common stars than the Milky Way, seeming to
predominate there old stars with ages >7109 years,[43] and the estimated luminosity of M31,
~2.61010 L, is about 25% higher than that of our own galaxy.[51] However, the galaxy has a
high inclination as seen from Earth and its interstellar dust absorbs an unknown amount of
light, so it is difficult to estimate its actual brightness and other authors have given other
values for the luminosity of the Andromeda Galaxy (including to propose it is the second
brightest galaxy within a radius of 10 mega parsecs of the Milky Way, after the Sombrero
Galaxy,[52] with an absolute magnitude of -22.21[d])
The most recent estimation (done in 2010 with the help of Spitzer Space Telescope)
suggests an absolute magnitude (in the blue) of 20.89 (that with a color index of +0.63
translates to an absolute visual magnitude of 21.52,[b] compared to 20.9 for the Milky
Way), and a total luminosity in that wavelength of 3.641010 L[53]
The rate of star formation in the Milky Way is much higher, with M31 producing only
about one solar mass per year compared to 35 solar masses for the Milky Way. The rate of
supernovae in the Milky Way is also double that of M31.[54] This suggests that M31 once
experienced a great star formation phase, but is now in a relative state of quiescence,
whereas the Milky Way is experiencing more active star formation.[51] Should this continue,
the luminosity in the Milky Way may eventually overtake that of M31.
According to recent studies, like the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy lies in what in the
galaxy colormagnitude diagram is known as the green valley, a region populated by
galaxies in transition from the blue cloud (galaxies actively forming new stars) to the red
sequence (galaxies that lack star formation). Star formation activity in green valley galaxies
is slowing as they run out of star-forming gas in the interstellar medium. In simulated
galaxies with similar properties, star formation will typically have been extinguished within
about five billion years from now, even accounting for the expected, short-term increase in
the rate of star formation due to the collision between Andromeda and the Milky Way.[55]


The Andromeda Galaxy seen in infrared by the Spitzer Space Telescope, one of NASA's
four Great Space Observatories

Image of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by Spitzer in infrared, 24 micrometres

(Credit:NASA/JPLCaltech/K. Gordon, University of Arizona)

Play media
A Swift Tour of Andromeda Galaxy

A Galaxy Evolution Explorer image of the Andromeda Galaxy. The bands of blue-white
making up the galaxy's striking rings are neighborhoods that harbor hot, young, massive
stars. Dark blue-grey lanes of cooler dust show up starkly against these bright rings, tracing
the regions where star formation is currently taking place in dense cloudy cocoons. When
observed in visible light, Andromedas rings look more like spiral arms. The ultraviolet
view shows that these arms more closely resemble the ring-like structure previously
observed in infrared wavelengths with NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope. Astronomers using
Spitzer interpreted these rings as evidence that the galaxy was involved in a direct collision
with its neighbor, M32, more than 200 million years ago.
Based on its appearance in visible light, the Andromeda Galaxy is classified as an SA(s)b
galaxy in the de VaucouleursSandage extended classification system of spiral galaxies.[1]
However, data from the 2MASS survey showed that the bulge of M31 has a box-like
appearance, which implies that the galaxy is actually a barred spiral galaxy like the Milky
Way, with the Andromeda Galaxy's bar viewed almost directly along its long axis.[56]
In 2005, astronomers used the Keck telescopes to show that the tenuous sprinkle of stars
extending outward from the galaxy is actually part of the main disk itself.[8] This means that
the spiral disk of stars in M31 is three times larger in diameter than previously estimated.
This constitutes evidence that there is a vast, extended stellar disk that makes the galaxy
more than 220,000 light-years (67,000 pc) in diameter. Previously, estimates of the
Andromeda Galaxy's size ranged from 70,000 to 120,000 light-years (21,000 to 37,000 pc)
The galaxy is inclined an estimated 77 relative to the Earth (where an angle of 90 would
be viewed directly from the side). Analysis of the cross-sectional shape of the galaxy

appears to demonstrate a pronounced, S-shaped warp, rather than just a flat disk.[57] A
possible cause of such a warp could be gravitational interaction with the satellite galaxies
near M31. The galaxy M33 could be responsible for some warp in M31's arms, though
more precise distances and radial velocities are required.
Spectroscopic studies have provided detailed measurements of the rotational velocity of
M31 at various radii from the core. In the vicinity of the core, the rotational velocity climbs
to a peak of 225 kilometres per second (140 mi/s) at a radius of 1,300 light-years
(82,000,000 AU), then descends to a minimum at 7,000 light-years (440,000,000 AU)
where the rotation velocity may be as low as 50 kilometres per second (31 mi/s). Thereafter
the velocity steadily climbs again out to a radius of 33,000 light-years (2.1109 AU), where
it reaches a peak of 250 kilometres per second (160 mi/s). The velocities slowly decline
beyond that distance, dropping to around 200 kilometres per second (120 mi/s) at 80,000
light-years (5.1109 AU). These velocity measurements imply a concentrated mass of about
6109 M in the nucleus. The total mass of the galaxy increases linearly out to 45,000 lightyears (2.8109 AU), then more slowly beyond that radius.[58]
The spiral arms of M31 are outlined by a series of H II regions, first studied in great detail
by Walter Baade and described by him as resembling "beads on a string". his studies show
two spiral arms that appear to be tightly wound, although they are more widely spaced than
in our galaxy.[59] His descriptions of the spiral structure, as each arm crosses the major axis
of M31, are as follows[60]pp1062[61]pp92:
Baade's spiral arms of M31
Arms (N=cross M31's
Distance from
Distance from
major axis at north,
center (arcminutes) center (kpc)
S=cross M31's major axis
at south)





















Dust arms with no OB
associations of HII
Dust arms with some OB
As per N2/S2, but with
some HII regions too.
Large numbers of OB
associations, HII regions,
and little dust.
As per N4/S4 but much
Loose OB associations.
No dust visible.
As per N6/S6 but fainter
and inconspicuous.

Since the Andromeda Galaxy is seen close to edge-on, however, the studies of its spiral
structure are difficult. While as stated above rectified images of the galaxy seem to show a
fairly normal spiral galaxy with the arms wound up in a clockwise direction, exhibiting two
continuous trailing arms that are separated from each other by a minimum of about 13,000
light-years (820,000,000 AU) and that can be followed outward from a distance of roughly
1,600 light-years (100,000,000 AU) from the core, other alternative spiral structures have
been proposed such as a single spiral arm[62] or a flocculent[63] pattern of long, filamentary,
and thick spiral arms.[1][64]
The most likely cause of the distortions of the spiral pattern is thought to be interaction with
galaxy satellites M32 and M110.[65] This can be seen by the displacement of the neutral
hydrogen clouds from the stars.[66]
In 1998, images from the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory
demonstrated that the overall form of the Andromeda Galaxy may be transitioning into a
ring galaxy. The gas and dust within M31 is generally formed into several overlapping
rings, with a particularly prominent ring formed at a radius of 32,000 light-years
(2.0109 AU) (10 kiloparsecs) from the core,[67] nicknamed by some astronomers the ring of
fire.[68] This ring is hidden from visible light images of the galaxy because it is composed
primarily of cold dust, and most of the star formation that is taking place in M31 is
concentrated there.[69]
Later studies with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope showed how Andromeda's spiral
structure in the infrared appears to be composed of two spiral arms that emerge from a
central bar and continue beyond the large ring mentioned above. Those arms, however, are
not continuous and have a segmented structure.[65]
Close examination of the inner region of M31 with the same telescope also showed a
smaller dust ring that is believed to have been caused by the interaction with M32 more
than 200 million years ago. Simulations show that the smaller galaxy passed through the
disk of the galaxy in Andromeda along the latter's polar axis. This collision stripped more
than half the mass from the smaller M32 and created the ring structures in M31.[70] It is the
co-existence of the long-known large ring-like feature in the gas of Messier 31, together
with this newly discovered inner ring-like structure, offset from the barycenter, that
suggested a nearly head-on collision with the satellite M32, a milder version of the
Cartwheel encounter.[71]
Studies of the extended halo of M31 show that it is roughly comparable to that of the Milky
Way, with stars in the halo being generally "metal-poor", and increasingly so with greater
distance.[40] This evidence indicates that the two galaxies have followed similar evolutionary
paths. They are likely to have accreted and assimilated about 100200 low-mass galaxies
during the past 12 billion years.[72] The stars in the extended halos of M31 and the Milky
Way may extend nearly one-third the distance separating the two galaxies.


HST image of the Andromeda Galaxy core showing possible double structure.
NASA/ESA photo
M31 is known to harbor a dense and compact star cluster at its very center. In a large
telescope it creates a visual impression of a star embedded in the more diffuse surrounding
bulge. The luminosity of the nucleus is in excess of the most luminous globular clusters.
[citation needed]

Chandra X-ray telescope image of the center of M31. A number of X-ray sources, likely Xray binary stars, within Andromeda's central region appear as yellowish dots. The blue
source at the center is at the position of the supermassive black hole.
In 1991 Tod R. Lauer used WFPC, then on board the Hubble Space Telescope, to image
M31's inner nucleus. The nucleus consists of two concentrations separated by 1.5 parsecs
(4.9 ly). The brighter concentration, designated as P1, is offset from the center of the
galaxy. The dimmer concentration, P2, falls at the true center of the galaxy and contains a
black hole measured at 35 107 M in 1993,[73] and at 1.12.3 108 M in 2005.[74] The
velocity dispersion of material around it is measured to be 160 km/s.[75]
Scott Tremaine has proposed that the observed double nucleus could be explained if P1 is
the projection of a disk of stars in an eccentric orbit around the central black hole.[76] The

eccentricity is such that stars linger at the orbital apocenter, creating a concentration of
stars. P2 also contains a compact disk of hot, spectral class A stars. The A stars are not
evident in redder filters, but in blue and ultraviolet light they dominate the nucleus, causing
P2 to appear more prominent than P1.[77]
While at the initial time of its discovery it was hypothesized that the brighter portion of the
double nucleus is the remnant of a small galaxy "cannibalized" by M31,[78] this is no longer
considered a viable explanation, largely because such a nucleus would have an exceedingly
short lifetime due to tidal disruption by the central black hole. While this could be partially
resolved if P1 had its own black hole to stabilize it, the distribution of stars in P1 does not
suggest that there is a black hole at its center.[76]

Discrete sources[edit]

Artist's concept of the Andromeda Galaxy core showing a view across a disk of young, blue
stars encircling a supermassive black hole. NASA/ESA photo
Apparently, by late 1968, no X-rays had been detected from the Andromeda Galaxy.[79] A
balloon flight on October 20, 1970, set an upper limit for detectable hard X-rays from M31.

Multiple X-ray sources have since been detected in the Andromeda Galaxy, using
observations from the ESA's XMM-Newton orbiting observatory. Robin Barnard et al.
hypothesized that these are candidate black holes or neutron stars, which are heating
incoming gas to millions of kelvins and emitting X-rays. The spectrum of the neutron stars
is the same as the hypothesized black holes, but can be distinguished by their masses.[81]
There are approximately 460 globular clusters associated with the Andromeda Galaxy.[82]
The most massive of these clusters, identified as Mayall II, nicknamed Globular One, has a
greater luminosity than any other known globular cluster in the Local Group of galaxies.[83]
It contains several million stars, and is about twice as luminous as Omega Centauri, the
brightest known globular cluster in the Milky Way. Globular One (or G1) has several stellar
populations and a structure too massive for an ordinary globular. As a result, some consider
G1 to be the remnant core of a dwarf galaxy that was consumed by M31 in the distant past.
The globular with the greatest apparent brightness is G76 which is located in the southwest arm's eastern half.[19] Another massive globular cluster -named 037-B327-, discovered

in 2006 as is heavily reddened by the Andromeda Galaxy's interstellar dust, was thought to
be more massive than G1 and the largest cluster of the Local Group;[85] however other
studies have shown is actually similar in properties to G1.[86]

Star cluster in the Andromeda galaxy.[87]

Unlike the globular clusters of the Milky Way, which show a relatively low age dispersion,
Andromeda's globular clusters have a much larger range of ages: from systems as old as the
galaxy itself to much younger systems, with ages between a few hundred million years to
five billion years[88]
In 2005, astronomers discovered a completely new type of star cluster in M31. The newfound clusters contain hundreds of thousands of stars, a similar number of stars that can be
found in globular clusters. What distinguishes them from the globular clusters is that they
are much largerseveral hundred light-years acrossand hundreds of times less dense.
The distances between the stars are, therefore, much greater within the newly discovered
extended clusters.[89]
In the year 2012, a microquasar, a radio burst emanating from a smaller black hole, was
detected in the Andromeda Galaxy. The progenitor black hole was located near the galactic
center and had about 10
. Discovered through a data collected by the ESA's XMMNewton probe, and subsequently observed by NASA's Swift and Chandra, the Very Large
Array, and the Very Long Baseline Array, the microquasar was the first observed within the
Andromeda Galaxy and the first outside of the Milky Way Galaxy.[90]

Main article: Andromeda's satellite galaxies
Like the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy has satellite galaxies, consisting of 14 known
dwarf galaxies. The best known and most readily observed satellite galaxies are M32 and
M110. Based on current evidence, it appears that M32 underwent a close encounter with
M31 (Andromeda) in the past. M32 may once have been a larger galaxy that had its stellar
disk removed by M31, and underwent a sharp increase of star formation in the core region,
which lasted until the relatively recent past.[91]

M110 also appears to be interacting with M31, and astronomers have found in the halo of
M31 a stream of metal-rich stars that appear to have been stripped from these satellite
galaxies.[92] M110 does contain a dusty lane, which may indicate recent or ongoing star
In 2006 it was discovered that nine of these galaxies lie along a plane that intersects the
core of the Andromeda Galaxy, rather than being randomly arranged as would be expected
from independent interactions. This may indicate a common tidal origin for the satellites.[94]

Collision with the Milky Way[edit]

Main article: AndromedaMilky Way collision
The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at about 110 kilometres per second
(68 mi/s).[95] It has been measured approaching relative to our Sun at around 300 kilometres
per second (190 mi/s)[1] as the Sun orbits around the center of our galaxy at a speed of
approximately 225 kilometres per second (140 mi/s). This makes Andromeda one of the
few blueshifted galaxies that we observe. Andromeda's tangential or side-ways velocity
with respect to the Milky Way is relatively much smaller than the approaching velocity and
therefore it is expected to directly collide with the Milky Way in about 4 billion years. A
likely outcome of the collision is that the galaxies will merge to form a giant elliptical
galaxy[96] or perhaps even a large disk galaxy.[16] Such events are frequent among the galaxies
in galaxy groups. The fate of the Earth and the Solar System in the event of a collision is
currently unknown. Before the galaxies merge, there is a small chance that the Solar
System could be ejected from the Milky Way or join M31.[97]

See also[edit]
Astronomy portal

Andromeda Nebula in fiction

List of Messier objects
List of galaxies
New General Catalogue
NGC 206 the brightest star cloud in the Andromeda Galaxy


^ Jump up to: a b average(787 18, 770 40, 772 44, 783 25) = ((787 + 770 +
772 + 783) / 4) (182 + 402 + 442 + 252)0.5 / 2 = 778 33.
^ Jump up to: a b Blue absolute magnitude of 20.89 Color index of 0.63 = 21.52
Jump up ^ J00443799+4129236 is at celestial coordinates R.A. 00h 44m 37.99s,
Dec. +41 29 23.6.
Jump up ^ Blue absolute magnitude of 21.58 (see reference) Color index of
0.63 = absolute visual magnitude of 22.21







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Cite error: A list-defined reference named "Roberts_1899" is not used in the content
(see the help page).

External links[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Andromeda Galaxy.

The Andromeda Galaxy on WikiSky: DSS2, SDSS, GALEX, IRAS, Hydrogen ,

X-Ray, Astrophoto, Sky Map, Articles and images
StarDate: M31 Fact Sheet
Simbad data on M31
Messier 31, SEDS Messier pages
Astronomy Picture of the Day
o A Giant Globular Cluster in M31 1998 October 17.
o M31: The Andromeda Galaxy 2004 July 18.
o Andromeda Island Universe 2005 December 22.
o Andromeda Island Universe 2010 January 9.
o WISE Infrared Andromeda 2010 February 19
M31 and its central Nuclear Spiral
Amateur photography M31
Globular Clusters in M31 at The Curdridge Observatory
First direct distance to Andromeda Astronomy magazine article
Andromeda Galaxy at
Andromeda Galaxy at The Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, Astronomy, & Spaceflight
M31, the Andromeda Galaxy at
Than, Ker (January 23, 2006). "Strange Setup: Andromeda's Satellite Galaxies All
Lined Up".
Hubble Finds Mysterious Disk of Blue Stars Around Black Hole Hubble
observations (Sep 20 2005) put the mass of the Andromeda core black hole at 140
million solar masses
M31 (Apparent) Novae Page (IAU)
Multi-wavelength composite
Andromeda Project (crowd-source)
Gray, Meghan; Szymanek, Nik; Merrifield, Michael. "M31 Andromeda Galaxy".
Deep Sky Videos. Brady Haran.
Andromeda Galaxy (M31) at Constellation Guide
APOD 2013 August 1 (M31's angular size compared with full Moon)

Hubble's High-Definition Panoramic View of the Andromeda Galaxy video of the Hubble High-Definition Panoramic View of
the Andromeda Galaxy

Messier objects


New General Catalogue 1 to 499


00h 42m 44.3s, +41 16 10


Andromeda Galaxy

Authority control

VIAF: 239579487
LCCN: sh85004924
GND: 4287149-9

NDL: 01189497

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Unbarred spiral galaxies

Local Group
Andromeda Galaxy
Andromeda Subgroup
Andromeda (constellation)
Messier objects
NGC objects
PGC objects
UGC objects
Astronomical objects known since antiquity
MCG objects
IRAS catalogue objects

This page was last modified on 11 December 2015, at 18:16.

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