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Posts Tagged ‘M31’

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

October 15, 2020 Leave a comment

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.

 

08/24/2020 – 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).

10/27/2016 – Ephemeris – Finding the Great Andromeda Galaxy

October 27, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 27th.  The Sun will rise at 8:14.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 6:37.  The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:02 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.  A telescope can see only the bright nucleus of the galaxy, that spans 6 Moon diameters in photographs.  M31 is its first catalog designation and it is two and a half million light years away.

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

Addendum

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

Andromeda in the evening with the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Astronomers called it a nebula before the discovered it was a galaxy like the Milky Way.  Created using Stellarium.

Great Andromeda Galaxy

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) as seen in binoculars. Visually even in a telescope the hub of this galaxy is all that is seen. However it also can be seen with the naked eye. My photograph.

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

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

11/13/2014 – Ephemeris – The Great Andromeda Galaxy

November 13, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, November 13th.  The sun will rise at 7:36.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 40 minutes, setting at 5:16.   The moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 11:36 this evening.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy that we amateur astronomers usually call M31 is the closest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy.  It is actually visible to keen-eyed observers to the naked eye.  To locate it, first find the Great Square of Pegasus, 4 stars high in the south that make a pretty good square.  From the top left star, Alpheratz, direct your gaze to the first two stars in a slightly curved line to the left to Mirach.  Then go two stars up.  The last one is a bit dim.  But just to the upper right of that last star is a little fuzzy spot.  That is the core of the Great Andromeda Galaxy.  In binoculars it looks elongated.  Photographs show the galaxy to span 6 Moon widths.  It is somewhat larger than our galaxy and will collide with the Milky Way in about 4 billion years.

Times 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.

Great Andromeda Galaxy

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) as seen in binoculars. Visually even in a telescope the hub of this galaxy is all that is seen. However it also can be seen with the naked eye. My photograph.

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

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Satellite galaxy M32 is located at the edge of the disk at 9 o’clock, and another, M110 is located at 5 o’clock.  Both can be seen in telescopes, but some distance from the core of M31 and seen visually.  Image taken by Scott Anttila.

10/12/2012 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Andromeda and its great galaxy

October 12, 2012 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, October 12th.  The sun will rise at 7:54.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 7:02.   The moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:42 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, nearly 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.

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

Addendum

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.

10/28/11 – Ephemeris – The Great Andromeda Galaxy

October 28, 2011 2 comments

Friday, October 28th.  The sun will rise at 8:14.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 6:37.   The moon, 2 days past new, will set at 7:53 this evening.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy is the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy.  It’s visible to the unaided eye in the east off the left star of the Great Square of Pegasus.  Move left two stars and up two stars to the fuzzy spot.  That is the heart of a galaxy that’s actually 6 moon diameters wide.  It’s close too as galaxies go, only two and a half million light years away.  Andromeda appears to be be somewhat larger than our galaxy, though may be less massive than the Milky Way because our galaxy seems to have more dark matter.  It is approaching us at somewhat less than 100 miles per second, and will collide with the Milky Way in four or five billion years, about the time the sun will begin to bloat toward a red giant.  Mark those down on your calendar.

* Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

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

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

 

The Constellation Andromeda. Created using Stellarium.

The Constellation Andromeda. Created using Stellarium.