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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Orderly Milky Way is Bizarre; Violent Andromeda is Normal

Andromeda

(Photo : Wikipedia) Andromeda is Milky Way's neighboring twin galaxy but it holds a violent history.

Scientists have observed some striking differences between the Milky Way's and its twin galaxy neighbor, Andromeda.

Both galaxies consist of a vast collection of stars in a spiral pattern that make them look identical. Andromeda, however, is twice as large as the Milky Way, which has a diameter of 200,000 light years.

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A new study reveals that appearances can be deceiving.  Researchers have observed the motions of the star populations in Andromeda apparently suggest a history of galactic violence when compared to the calm Milky Way.

Andromeda's star systems are arranged in a more chaotic manner than those in our galaxy, which is a possible result of clashes and merging of smaller galaxies with one another.

This violent evolution of stars in galaxies are common especially for large spiral shaped galaxies where 70 percent experience at least one collision in every 10,000 years.

Scientists now think the apparent order found in the Milky Way is quite unusual. According to Professor Puragra Guhathakurta from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Andromeda's disk motion is more normal as the Milky Way can be considered as an outlier with its unusually quiet accretion history.

Even if they're both neighbors, the Milky Way and Andromeda are separated by 2.5 million light years. The youngest stars in Andromeda move in an orderly manner in its center while the older ones possess a chaotic motion.

These findings were presented to the American Astronomical Association.

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