Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest Galaxy to the Milky Way Galaxy that we are in. Hence, logically, it should be visible isn't it? But, how many has observed / seen it ? 

The reason is that the Galaxy is so far away, you would see it as a faint single star. The below illustration indicates the distance between the two galaxies. If we see the largest and the brightest star in Milky-way as a dot, Andromeda being at the distance it is, appear faint too.  

However, it is observable to the naked eye if you are outside the city limits. Colombo, is quite bad as an observing site. However, a decent pair of Binoculars should do the trick.

So, How do we find it ?

In the night sky above Sri Lanka, Andromeda is to the northern hemisphere. Watch for the Constellation Orion - Draw a mental straight line towards north west direction and you should arrive at the area that is circled in red in the above diagram. You would see the below star charts in this area and locate the Galaxy as shown. Mind you, it is not the colourful Galaxy you would see as in the first picture of this blog - those are long exposure (at least 30 minutes) shots that makes it colourful. 

If you observe the sky from a clear, unpolluted location, you would most probably see a sight as below - it would be easier for anyone to spot the galaxy through naked eye if the skies are really clear. What you see like a puff of dust is Andromeda. 

If you use Bino's or telescope you would see something like below.

Happy Andromeda Hunting. Please provide feedback if you spot the Galaxy and feel free to share pictures. You can comment below. 

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