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Author Topic: Last chance to look at Andromeda  (Read 169 times)

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Psk

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Last chance to look at Andromeda
« on: March 09, 2018, 11:35:12 pm »
Sirius in the constellation Canis Major, the Big Dog, blazes brightly in the southern sky. Sirius is only eight and a half light years away.

All the bright planets are visible in the sky, the inner planets in the evening and the outer planets in the morning. At 6:30 a.m. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are spread across the southern sky. Jupiter is the brightest of the trio of planets and is the furthest west. Mars, appearing red, and Saturn, appearing yellow, are in the south-southeast, appear similar in brightness and are separated by 11 degrees.

After sunset look low in the western sky for Venus and Mercury. Venus will be the brightest object in the sky and will be an easy object to spot. Mercury is not nearly as bright, but shines bright enough four degrees to the upper right of Venus.

Time to spot the Andromeda Galaxy is growing short as the galaxy sets earlier each night. First look for what resembles a large slender letter V, which is beginning to drop below the horizon. The second pair of stars from the horizon are the two stars needed to start looking for the galaxy. At 9 p.m. the galaxy is 15 degrees above the horizon in the northwest. These two stars are separated by about four degrees and, moving this same distance to the right of the two stars, will lead you to the galaxy.

You'll need to be in a very dark sky location in the country to see Andromeda. It may just appear as a faint small cloud, but should look more like a galaxy with binoculars or a small telescope. Andromeda is the closest galaxy to us, right next door to our own galaxy. It's on a collision course with us. In a few billion years, before our sun blows into a red giant, & burns up the earth, the gravity of Andromeda colliding with our own galaxy will have upset the orbits of stars, planets, & asteroids probably rendering the earth uninhabitable.


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