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Andromeda is the same size as the Milky way


Both the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy (M31) are giant spiral galaxies in our local universe. And in about 4 billion years, the Milky Way and Andromeda will collide in a gravitational sumo match that will ultimately bind them forever.

Because astronomers previously thought that Andromeda was up to three times as massive as the Milky Way, they expected that our galaxy would be easily overpowered and absorbed into our larger neighbor. But now, new research suggests we’ve overestimated our opponent.


In a study published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of Australian astronomers announced that Andromeda is not actually the heavyweight we once thought it was. Instead, they found that our nearest galactic neighbor is more or less the same mass as the Milky Way — some 800 billion times the mass of the Sun.

To determine the heft of the Andromeda galaxy, the team used a technique that calculates the speed required for a quick-moving star to escape the gravitational pull of its host galaxy. This required speed needed for ejection is known as an object’s escape velocity.

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