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Our Galaxy - Our Local Group

Our Milky Way galaxy is a member of a larger group called the Local Group. The local group is also a part of a larger cluster, but that is covered in the Cosmology section.

Our local group contains about 40 members with the biggest and brightest being:

  • Our Milky Way
  • The Andromeda Galaxy - M31
  • The Triangulum Galaxy - M33
M31 - 2005 Russell Croman, www.rc-astro.com M33 - 2005 Russell Croman, www.rc-astro.com

While it is difficult to determine the members of our own local group (because our view is somewhat limited from within a galaxy), astronomers have been able to create a map:


(Image Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Online)

Our local group has a diameter of around 1 Mpc. The map is color coded:

  • Green = spiral galaxies
  • Blue = irregular galaxies
  • Pink = elliptical galaxies

The sizes are not to exact scale, but does demonstrate that spiral galaxies are larger than elliptical galaxies.

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