Here’s how you can take a look at massive galaxy known as M31
The night sky has many amazing sights to view, but one of the most amazing objects to view in our October skies has to be the massive galaxy known as the Andromeda Galaxy or M31.
This object is not a star cluster or a small nebula in the sky, but one of the most massive galaxies and one that is 2.5 million light years away! This makes it one of the nearest large galactic systems to Earth.
Some claim that it has at least 1 trillion stars in it!
Now, you might say, how can that be true?
The universe is thought to be at least 13.77 billion years old and out of that complex creation event, we get billions of galaxies with a star count of at least 300 billion stars or more.
The Andromeda Galaxy was viewed as far back as 964 A.D., with observers in Persia and the Orient taking credit for first seeing this as a little “smudge” in the night sky.
This is what this massive galaxy looks like in the best of telescopes and spacecraft.
On a dark and moonless night you may find this galaxy in a small binocular or telescope and this chart might help you locate it.
There is actually hope for city viewers too; as this object will look like a small but faint “smudge” right from your city location.
Finding it is the best part!
Yes, you are looking at this galaxy as it appeared back 2.5 million years ago as the light from it takes that long to get here.
Here is a video to describe what it would be like on Earth 2.5 million years ago:
Here is a more detailed star chart for locating the Andromeda Galaxy.
Now, we move on to observes out there who have larger telescopes and have some greater knowledge of the night sky and would like to look at more of the detail in and around the Andromeda Galaxy.
More information on this most amazing galaxy.
Finally; all good things must come to an end, as the Andromeda Galaxy will close in on our Milky Way in a few billion years and create on hell of a mess of our own Milky Way.
That will be a collision like none before and the details of that event are seen online.
So, for those of you that have not seen an object that far way, we suggest that you try and find this object and show it to others.
The first thing I suggest is that you learn your night sky and here is a link to a great free star chart for you to use each month.
Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning at 3 a.m.ktar.com/top-stories
Podcasts are available here.