A Really Small Telescope Captured This Gorgeous Galaxy Image

Illustration for article titled A Really Small Telescope Captured This Gorgeous Galaxy Image

Astronomers say this view of the Andromeda Galaxy is probably similar to what the Milky Way Galaxy would look like from outside.

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Like the Milky Way, Andromeda is a spiral galaxy, and it’s our nearest galactic neighbor in the cleverly-named Local Group. Of course, “near” in astronomical terms means about 2.5 million light years. But someday, Andromeda will be much closer; astrophysicists say it will collide with the Milky Way in a few billion years. Eventually, the two galaxies will merge into one big elliptical galaxy.

This image is actually a digital mosaic of 20 frames, taken with a 12.5 inch telescope. The individual stars you see are actually stars in the Milky Way, showing up in the foreground of the image.

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Illustration for article titled A Really Small Telescope Captured This Gorgeous Galaxy Image

If you look next to the constellation Pegasus, you can see the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye; it’ll look like a round, bright blur. You can get a better view with a small telescope, of course.

Image credit: Robert Gendler via NASA


Contact the author at k.smithstrickland@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter.

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DISCUSSION

szielins
Stephan Zielinski

Astronomers say this view of the Andromeda Galaxy is probably similar to what the Milky Way Galaxy would look like from outside.

Not any more, they don’t. The Milky Way is a barred spiral. Map, from eso.org: Artist’s impression of the Milky Way (updated - annotated) :