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MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation showing the Local Group of galaxies, a region of space that includes our Milky Way galaxy as well as several other galaxies associated by gravity. The Milky Way (seen first) is the second largest galaxy in the Local Group, up to 120,000 light years wide. The largest galaxy is the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), which appears at left. This galaxy is a barred spiral like the Milky Way, but is larger at around 140,000 light years in diamater. It lies just over 2.5 million light years from the Milky Way. Close to Andromeda but smaller and appearing just after it from the bottom is the Triangulum Galaxy (M33), which is the third largest member of the group and the only unbarred spiral. It is 50,000 light years wide and lies around 2.7 million light years away. The Local Group also contains more than 50 small and irregular galaxes, including the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, satellites of our Milky Way.
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