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The Milky Way and Its Neighbors

Part of Hall of the Universe.

The Milky Way and its neighbors_HERO AMNH/D. Finnin

Exhibition Text

The Milky Way Galaxy resides in a neighborhood of a few dozen galaxies called the Local Group. They range in size from small dwarf galaxies to the large Andromeda Galaxy. Over time, these galaxies interact with one another, changing their motions and shapes. The long-term evolution of a galaxy is influenced by being part of a group. The Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest spiral neighbor, are headed toward each other. In about five billion years, they may collide and merge. Eventually, our remote descendants could be living in a large elliptical galaxy.

For Educators

Topic: Astronomy

Subtopic: Galaxies

Keywords: Andromeda Galaxy, Local Group (Astronomy), Galaxies--Evolution, Milky Way, Astronomy, Dwarf galaxies

Audience: General