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Posts Tagged ‘Great Andromeda Galaxy’

10/18/2022 – Ephemeris – The Great Andromeda Galaxy

October 18, 2022 Comments off

Oct 18. This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 18th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 6:52, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:03. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:22 tomorrow morning.

The closest large galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy is the Great Andromeda Galaxy, seen in the eastern sky when it gets dark. It is barely visible to the naked eye. To locate it, first find the Great Square of Pegasus high in the east, standing on one corner. The left star of the square is the head of the constellation Andromeda. Follow two stars to the left and a bit downward, then two stars straight up. The galaxy is near that last star as a small smudge of light. Binoculars are the best way to see it as a thin spindle of light. Visually through a telescope, one can see only the bright nucleus of the galaxy, that spans six Moon diameters in photographs. M 31* is its most well known catalog designation, and it’s two and a half million light years away.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.

* M 31 is the 31st entry in French comet hunter Charles Messier’s catalog of fuzzy objects that can be mistaken for comets because they didn’t move in relation to the stars. It is a catalog of some of the brightest, what we call, deep sky objects: star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. It is not a comprehensive catalog of these objects, since Messier was interested in comets.

Addendum

Andromeda and M31 animated finder

Andromeda animated finder, including the Great Andromeda Galaxy. I’ve added Cassiopeia that some folks use to find the galaxy. I start with the leftmost star of the Great Square of Pegasus that connects to Andromeda. I count off two stars on the lower curve because they are brighter than the upper curve. Then count two stars up. Next to that top star is a little smudge. That is the core of the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Click on the image to enlarge to full size. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Low resolution and exposure view of M31 simulating what it looks like in binoculars

Low resolution and exposure view of M 31, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, simulating what it looks like in binoculars. Credit mine.

M31 Andromeda Galaxy by Dan Dall'Olmo

M 31, The Great Andromeda Galaxy. This image really shows the red H II Regions intermixed with the dark dust lanes that delineate the galaxy’s spiral arms. H II or ionized hydrogen regions are illuminated by hot young stars that were born within them. Click on the image to enlarge it. Credit: Dan Dall’Olmo.

The moon superimposed on M31 for apparent size comparison

The moon superimposed on the Great Andromeda Galaxy, M31, for apparent size comparison. Created using Stellarium and the embedded image of the galaxy with that of the full Moon of October 31, 2020. M31 Image credit: Herm Perez: http://home.att.net/~hermperez/default.htm License: “Feel free to use these images, if you use them in a commercial setting please attribute the source.”

The Great Andromeda Galaxy is shown with two of its satellite galaxies, both elliptical. The nearly spherical one is M 32. The other one I knew and observed, in the 1950s, as NGC 205**. Even though Messier had described this object in 1773, he didn’t add it to his catalog. The suggestion that it be added as the last entry in Messier’s catalog was made in 1967 by Welsh amateur astronomer Kenneth Glyn Jones***

** NGC is the New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, and is not so new. It was published in 1888 by John Louis Emil Dreyer.

*** Source: messier-objects.com

10/17/022 – Ephemeris – Andromeda, damsel in distress

October 17, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, October 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 6:54, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:02. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 12:18 tomorrow morning

In the east at 9 this evening can be found a large square of stars, the Great Square of Pegasus the upside down flying horse. The square is standing on one corner. What looks like its hind legs stretching to the left from the left corner star is another constellation, Andromeda the chained princess. She is seen in the sky as two nearly horizontal but diverging curved strings of stars that curve upward. She was doomed due to her mother, Queen Cassiopeia’s boasting, which angered the god Poseidon. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, a nearby constellation, riding his steed Pegasus. Andromeda’s claim to scientific fame is the large galaxy seen as a faint fuzzy spot with the naked-eye just above the upper line of stars. The Great Andromeda Galaxy is two and a half million light years away.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Andromeda finder animation

Andromeda finder animation looking east at 9 pm tonight, October 17, 2022. The left corner star of the Great Square of Pegasus is called Alpheratz, and actually belongs to Andromeda. The faint fuzzy spot labeled M31 is the Great Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way’s large neighbor. I’ll talk more about it tomorrow. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

I’ve related Andromeda’s story in my post The Great Star Story of Autumn.

09/28/2021 – Ephemeris – Andromeda, a damsel in distress

September 28, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, September 28th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 7:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:38. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 11:46 this evening.

In the east at 9 this evening can be found a large square of stars, the Great Square of Pegasus the flying horse. The square is standing on one corner. What looks like its hind legs stretching to the left from the left corner star is another constellation, Andromeda the chained princess. She is seen in the sky as two diverging curved strings of stars that curve upward. She was doomed due to her mother, Queen Cassiopeia’s boasting, which angered the god Poseidon. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, a nearby constellation, riding his steed Pegasus. Andromeda’s claim to astronomical fame is the large galaxy seen with the naked-eye just above the upper line of stars. The Great Andromeda Galaxy is two and a half million light years away.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Andromeda finder animation

Andromeda finder animation surrounded by the other constellations in her story, except the monster, which will rise later. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Andromeda Galaxy finder chart

Great Andromeda Galaxy finder chart. This image shows the galaxy almost to its fullest extent. In the finder animation above, the galaxy looks pretty much as it would to the naked eye. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium.

Astronomers often refer to this galaxy as M 31 for short. It was the 31st entry in Charles Messier’s catalog of objects that could be confused as being comets by comet hunters like himself. It was added in 1764. He didn’t care what these fuzzy objects were, just that they didn’t move against the background stars. Actually, M 31 is in the background. The stars are in the foreground, in our Milky Way Galaxy.

 

10/15/2020 – Ephemeris – The Great Andromeda Galaxy

October 15, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, October 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 6:57, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:00. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

The closest large galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy is the Great Andromeda Galaxy seen in the eastern sky when it gets dark. It is barely visible to the naked eye. To locate it first find the Great Square of Pegasus high in the east, standing on one corner. The left star of the square is the head of the constellation Andromeda. Follow two stars to the left and a bit downward, then two stars straight up. The galaxy is near that last star as a small smudge of light. Binoculars are the best way to see it as a thin spindle of light. Visually through a telescope one can see only the bright nucleus of the galaxy, that spans six Moon diameters in photographs. M31 is its most famous catalog designation and it is two and a half million light years away.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Andromeda and M31 animated finder

Andromeda animated finder, including the Great Andromeda Galaxy. I’ve added Cassiopeia that some folks use to find the galaxy. I start with the leftmost star of the Great Square of Pegasus that connects to Andromeda. I count off two star on the lower curve because they are brighter than the upper curve. Then count two stars up. Next to that top star is a little smudge. That is the core of the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The moon superimposed on M31 for apparent size comparison

The moon superimposed on the Great Andromeda Galaxy, M31, for apparent size comparison. Created using Stellarium and the embedded image of the galaxy with that of the full Moon of October 31, 2020. M31 Image credit: Herm Perez License: “Feel free to use these images, if you use them in a commercial setting please attribute the source.”

 

10/08/2020 – Ephemeris – A lady with a not so hidden jewel

October 8, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, October 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 7:09, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:51. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 11:09 this evening.

The stars of the constellations Andromeda the chained princess look like they’re supposed to be the hind legs of Pegasus the flying horse which is high in the southern sky above Mars at 9 p.m. Andromeda is high in the southeast She is seen in the sky as two diverging curved strings of stars that curve to the left and up from the upper leftmost star of the Great Square of Pegasus. Her predicament was caused by her boastful mother Cassiopeia, and the wrath of the god Poseidon. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, a nearby constellation, riding his steed Pegasus. Andromeda’s claim to astronomical fame is the large galaxy barely visible to the unaided eye just above the upper line of stars, the Great Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Andromeda and M31 animated finder

Andromeda animated finder, including the Great Andromeda Galaxy. I’ve added Cassiopeia that some folks use to find the galaxy. I start with the leftmost star of the Great Square of Pegasus that connects to Andromeda. I count off two star on the lower curve because they are brighter than the upper curve. Then count two stars up. Next to that top star is a little smudge. That is the core of the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and two of its satellite galaxies M31 (left) and M110. Image taken by Scott Anttila.

 

08/25/2020 – Ephemeris – The Great Andromeda Galaxy will collide with the Milky Way someday

August 25, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 25th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 8:30, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:58. The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 12:26 tomorrow morning.

Stars are at extreme distances compared to their sizes, even if one includes their planetary systems. Galaxies in a galaxy cluster are much closer with respect to their size. Astronomers have determined that our Milky Way galaxy will collide with the Great Andromeda galaxy, some two and a half million light years away, in about four and a half billion years. Don’t worry, it is very unlikely that any stars will collide during the event, though the solar system may be in for a wild ride. As the galaxies approach each other their beautiful spiral structures will begin to distort into tidal tails. Multiple passes of the two will occur before they will coalesce into one large elliptical galaxy. Other galaxies of the Local Group will join in over time.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Colliding galaxies. Note the tidal tails. Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA.

View from Earth-Andromeda collision

Original caption: This illustration shows a stage in the predicted merger between our Milky Way galaxy and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy, as it will unfold over the next several billion years. In this image, representing Earth’s night sky in 3.75 billion years, Andromeda (left) fills the field of view and begins to distort the Milky Way with tidal pull. (Credit: NASA; ESA; Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI; T. Hallas; and A. Mellinger)

08/24/2020 – Ephemeris – The Milky Way’s companion galaxies

August 24, 2020 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, August 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 8:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:57. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 11:51 this evening.

Not long after spiral nebulae were confirmed to be milky ways like ours or galaxies it was noticed that they were often found in bunches or clusters. One of the closest is the Virgo cluster seen in spring covering the constellation of Virgo and adjacent constellations. Our Milky Way Galaxy has two small satellite galaxies, the Clouds of Magellan first spotted by European eyes on his epic voyage, and belongs to a small cluster of galaxies along with the Great Andromeda galaxy. Perhaps 80 galaxies belong in all, most are small irregular dwarf galaxies, difficult to find and see. Our galaxy cluster is known simply as the Local Group. The galaxies of the Local Group interact gravitationally with each other.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Magellanic Clouds

The Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, these dwarf galaxies are seen best from the southern hemisphere. Credit: ESO S. Brunier.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is the largest member of the Local group with two of its satellite galaxies M32 to the left and M110 below-right. M31 can be spotted with the naked eye on fall and winter nights with the naked eye. Image taken by Scott Anttila.

M33, the Triangulum Galaxy

M33, the Triangulum Galaxy is the third largest galaxy in the Local Group after Andromeda and the Milky Way. It appears in the sky just east of the constellation of Andromeda in Triangulum the triangle. Though large it has a very low surface brightness making it hard to spot with binoculars or a telescope. Credit: Scott Anttila.

Virgo cluster

Some of the brighter members of the Virgo Cluster (of galaxies) as red ovals. The galaxies marked with an ‘M’ number are part of Charles Messier’s catalog. It took a telescope of 8 inch diameter for me to spot them. Someone with better vision, like Messier himself can spot them with a smaller telescope. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

09/26/2019 – Ephemeris – Looking for Andromeda

September 26, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 26th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 7:33, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:35. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:49 tomorrow morning.

In the east at 9 this evening can be found a large square of stars, the Great Square of Pegasus the flying horse. The square is standing on one corner. What look like its hind legs stretching to the left from the left corner star is another constellation, Andromeda the chained maiden. She is seen in the sky as two diverging curved strings of stars that curve upward. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, a nearby constellation, riding his steed Pegasus. Andromeda’s claim to astronomical fame is the large galaxy seen with the unaided eye just above the upper line of stars, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, about 2 and a half million light years away. To the unaided eye the galaxy appears as a small smudge of light. In binoculars the galaxy is a delicate spindle of light.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Pegasus-Andromeda finder

Pegasus & Andromeda animated finder chart for 9 p.m. in late September. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Andromeda at 9 p.m. with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium.

Andromeda at 9 p.m. with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.

11/09/2018 – Ephemeris – The Great Andromeda Galaxy

November 9, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, November 9th. The Sun will rise at 7:31. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:21. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 7:03 this evening.

In the south at 9, this evening can be found a large square of stars, the Great Square of Pegasus the flying horse, flying upside down to the right. What looks like its hind legs stretching to the left from the upper left corner star is another constellation, Andromeda the chained princess. She is seen in the sky as two diverging curved strings of stars that curve upward. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, a nearby constellation, riding Pegasus. Andromeda’s claim to astronomical fame is the large galaxy seen with the unaided eye just above the upper line of stars. The Great Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away. To the naked eye the galaxy appears as a small smudge of light. In binoculars the galaxy is a delicate spindle of light.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Great Andromeda Galaxy finder chart
Great Andromeda Galaxy finder chart. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.
The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.
The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) with two of its satellite galaxies M32 and M110. Image taken by Scott Anttila.

10/16/2017 – Ephemeris – Andromeda, the chained princess

October 16, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, October 16th. The Sun will rise at 7:59. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 6:55. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:29 tomorrow morning.

The stars of the constellations Andromeda the chained princess look like they’re supposed to be the hind legs of Pegasus the flying horse which is high in the southeast at 9 p.m. Andromeda is high in the east She is seen in the sky as two diverging curved strings of stars that curve to the left and up from the leftmost star of the Great Square of Pegasus. Her predicament was caused by her boastful mother Cassiopeia, and the wrath of the god Poseidon. She was rescued by the hero Perseus, a nearby constellation, riding his steed Pegasus. Andromeda’s claim to astronomical fame is the large galaxy barely visible to the unaided eye just above the upper line of stars, the Great Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Andromeda and friends

Andromeda and neighboring constellations that are related to her story. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Andromeda at 9 p.m. with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium.

Andromeda at 9 p.m. with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Created using Stellarium.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Image taken by Scott Anttila.  It appears here more extensive than it appears visually to the naked eye or in telescopes.