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Optical image of the spiral galaxy M31 (NGC 224) which lies at about 2.2 million light years from Earth in Andromeda's constellation. M31 is the brightest & nearest of all spiral galaxies & with a diameter of 180,000 light years is one of the largest galaxies known. Two satellite galaxies of M31 are visible. They are NGC 205 at upper right & the brighter stellar-like object M32 (NGC 221) at bottom centre. Many dark lanes are present in M31. They are caused by clouds of dust which absorb & scatter the light emitted here.
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