Photo in the News: "Cannibal" Galaxy Gets Fatter

Image: Andromeda spiral galaxy
Email to a Friend


May 31, 2005—As if living next to the "cannibal" galaxy Andromeda isn't bad enough, scientists now tell us that our closest galactic neighbor is three times larger than previously thought.

Four years ago astronomers reported that the spiral galaxy 2.2 million light-years from Earth was inhaling two dwarf galaxies, M32 and NGC 205. (OK, so our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a cannibal too, but that's beside the point.)

Yesterday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Minneapolis, Minnesota, researchers disclosed new information: The dusting of stars once believed to form a halo around Andromeda actually belongs to the main body of the spiral galaxy. The discovery expands Andromeda's waistline threefold—from 75,000 light-years (give or take 5,000 light-years) to 222,000 light-years.

No wonder the galaxy is the most distant space object visible to the naked eye.

—Sean Markey

See More Photos in the News
See Today's Top Stories

Free E-Mail News Updates
Sign up for our Inside National Geographic newsletter. Every two weeks we'll send you our top stories and pictures (see sample).

NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




ADVERTISEMENT

 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.