NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Andromeda galaxy (M31). Optical image of the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is the largest galaxy in the Local Group, being 150,000 light years in diameter. It lies 2.2 million light years away. It is classed as a spiral galaxy (Sb). The Andromeda galaxy has two smaller companion galaxies: M32 (NGC 221, top right corner) and M110 (NGC 205, lower centre). Photographed by the 0.9-metre telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA.
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