Astronomers say this view of the Andromeda Galaxy is really similar to what the Milky Way Galaxy would look like from the outside. Much like the Milky Way, the Andromeda is a spiral galaxy and it’s our closest galactic neighbor in our Local Group. Sure, in this case “near” isn’t right next door, it’s 2.5 million light years away, but it’s still our closest neighbor. One day, a long way away from now, however, Andromeda will be close enough to collide with our galaxy in a few billion years and merge into a huge, elliptical galaxy.
This image is actually a digital mosaic of 20 frames, taken with a 12.5 inch telescope. The individual stars you see are actually stars in the Milky Way, showing up in the foreground of the image. If you look next to the constellation Pegasus, you can see the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. It’ll look like a big, rought bright blur.