LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Great Andromeda Galaxy. Optical image of the Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31; NGC 224) overlaid with contour lines which link areas of equal brightness. Andromeda has a bright, dense central bulge surrounded by dimmer spiral arms. The galaxy is located 2.2 million light years from Earth in the constellation Andromeda, & is the most distant object that can be seen with the naked eye. It is the nearest galaxy to our own, the Milky Way. At about 200,000 light years across Andromeda is the largest galaxy in the "local group", the cluster of around 25 galaxies that includes the Milky Way.
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