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How Big Are Galaxies? April 3, 2013

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro.
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How Big Are Galaxies?.

Remember looking at the Andromeda Galaxy (aka M31) at a star party and having someone tell you it’s a big spiral galaxy similar to the Milky Way? And there also were a couple smudges for M32 and M110, which were a bit small for galaxies (see below), but still had thousands, maybe millions of stars.

A bit small. Ha.

If you look carefully, you’ll see M32 in the image of M31 used (M31 is the one with the dotted line around it.) But if you thought M31 was actually big, boy are you in for a surprise.

Be sure to scroll down, there’s a second graphic which includes the largest known galaxy, IC1101. You can see why Rhys Taylor would leave it off his first size comparison graphic.

The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approx...

The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. The image also shows Messier 32 and 110, as well as NGC 206 (a bright star cloud in the Andromeda Galaxy) and the star Nu Andromedae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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