astrodidact:

Andromeda Galaxy- Our Milky Way galaxy will no longer take the shape of a barred, spiral galaxy when the enormous Andromeda Galaxy merges with us. Andromeda currently lies approximately 2.6 million light years away and is heading towards our galaxy at around 80 miles per second. I wouldn’t worry just yet as this collision will take place in 3.5 billion years; that’s how far away Andromeda is. It’s size is estimated to be around 200,000 light years in diameter and is measured to contain nearly one trillion stars. By comparison, our own galaxy probably has close to 400 billion stars. This picture beautifully shows the center of the Andromeda surrounded by hot blue stars, which are usually very massive and have short lives. Just like our own galaxy, it is believed that at the center of Andromeda lies a supermassive black hole. Imagine a region of space only 5 light years in diameter (Roughly the distance to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri), that contains the mass of 10 million stars. This enormous amount of mass can not be explained by what is seen visually through stars, gas and dust. Measuring stars near the core of active galaxies has proven that those stars nearest the core are orbiting “something” at speeds near 3,000 miles per second. For contrast, our sun orbits the center of the Milky Way at 135 miles per second. The numbers sort of speak for themselves and further proves the existence of supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies such as our Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies.

astrodidact:

Andromeda Galaxy- Our Milky Way galaxy will no longer take the shape of a barred, spiral galaxy when the enormous Andromeda Galaxy merges with us. Andromeda currently lies approximately 2.6 million light years away and is heading towards our galaxy at around 80 miles per second. I wouldn’t worry just yet as this collision will take place in 3.5 billion years; that’s how far away Andromeda is. It’s size is estimated to be around 200,000 light years in diameter and is measured to contain nearly one trillion stars. By comparison, our own galaxy probably has close to 400 billion stars. This picture beautifully shows the center of the Andromeda surrounded by hot blue stars, which are usually very massive and have short lives. Just like our own galaxy, it is believed that at the center of Andromeda lies a supermassive black hole. Imagine a region of space only 5 light years in diameter (Roughly the distance to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri), that contains the mass of 10 million stars. This enormous amount of mass can not be explained by what is seen visually through stars, gas and dust. Measuring stars near the core of active galaxies has proven that those stars nearest the core are orbiting “something” at speeds near 3,000 miles per second. For contrast, our sun orbits the center of the Milky Way at 135 miles per second. The numbers sort of speak for themselves and further proves the existence of supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies such as our Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies.

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