Andromeda: Our Sister Galaxy

January 21, 2015 3:20 PM

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In Greek mythology, Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, was stripped and chained to a rock, only to be saved from certain death in the claws of a sea monster by Perseus (Figure 1 shows a wonderful depiction of the myth by Lord Frederic Leighton).

In the northern sky, a constellation is named Andromeda, and it contains the galaxy M31 (so cataloged by astronomer Charles Messier on August 3rd, 1764), commonly known as the Andromeda galaxy. At a distance of 2.5 million light years, the Andromeda galaxy is next door in astronomical terms. Its mas...

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