The Andromeda galaxy is one of the most well known galaxies (in terms of people knowing on Earth) in the universe. It is relatively close in space speak but it is not the closest galaxy to the milky way, the closest is the Dwarf galaxy Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy. The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest Spiral Galaxy to our own. The Andromeda is very large and makes our galaxy look tiny. Our galaxy is 100,000 Light Years across but the Andromeda is 220,000 Light Years across. Not only is it larger in scale, it also has more stars. It is estimated that the Milky Way has about 200-400 Billion stars but that the Andromeda Galaxy has over a trillion stars. ref:universetoday
The Andromeda Galaxy has been known of since about 900 A.D., helped by the fact that it is visible to the naked eye and still is. When it was first discovered, the discoverer would not have known exactly what he was looking at as it would have just appeared as a smudge in the sky. When French Astronomer Charles Messier was surveying the skies for his catalogue, he labelled the galaxy M31, being the 31st object in his catalogue. It can be seen if you up at the sky at an area near Nu Andromeda, the nearest star of interest to it.
It would be arrogant to say its a fact that the Milky Way is the only galaxy in the universe to have planets and life. We can't prove or disprove there's no life in Andromeda. What we do now is that there are planets in the Andromeda Galaxy. Scientists reported in 2009 that they'd discovered a planet round a star in the Andromeda galaxy using the same techniques they use here for spotting planets. The planet is six times as big as Jupiter so it'll be a gas planet with no chance of life. The only way we'd get there is using a space ship like the Tardis or going through a wormhole.
The Andromeda Galaxy will become a lot brighter in the future. However you do not need to worry as that won't happen for billions of years. The two galaxies are moving towards one another at about 75 miles per second. It might seem like a fast speed but when you take into account the distance, you will understand that it will take a long time. On my galaxy page is a N.A.S.A. video of galaxy collision.
When the galaxies collide, it won't create some massive explosion like you get when two cars travelling at high speed crash into one another. There is sufficient space between the stars that some stars will pass by one another. The two galactic cores will just merge to create a new super galaxy but won't still be anywhere near as big as IC 1101 galaxy, currently the largest galaxy known to us. Some stars will just drift past one another and with no touching. The Tadpole Galaxy is an example of when two galaxies collide, a large tail is formed. Some stars will be flung out of the new galaxy and become a Rogue Star
A whole new series of star formations will be rumoured to start when the two galaxies collide, that could also mean new life forms.
Andromeda Galaxy when it collides with us won't be the first cosmic collision that our galaxy has had. Our galaxy has consumed other galaxies and will consume other galaxies before we reach Andromeda Galaxy. The widely accepted oldest star so far discovered, Methuselah Star is reputed to have come from another galaxy that the Milky Way consumed.
Andromeda Galaxy (M31, NGC224) is a spiral galaxy object of interest in space. It lies at a distance of 2,430-2,650 kly light years away in the constellation of Andromeda. It is referred to as M(31) when it was catalogued by Charles Messier in 18th - 19th Century France. It is also referred to as NGC(224) in the New General Catalogue. This is a list of deep space objects that was compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888 in an update to John Herschel earlier catalogue. Andromeda Galaxy (M31, NGC224) was discovered in 905AD by Al-Sufi. The Spiral Galaxy's location is 00:42.7 (R.A.) and +41:16 (Dec.). Its Visual Brightness is a 3.4 Magnitude and has an apparent magnitude of 3 with an apparent dimension of 178x63 . The object can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.
|Name||Andromeda Galaxy (M31, NGC224)|
|Distance (Lt.Yr)||2,430-2,650 kly|
|Naked Eye Visible||Yes - Magnitudes|
|Year of Discovery||905AD|