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Andromeda In The Sky

StarBase 118 Staff

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The ‘Milky Way’, home to our own solar system in which Earth resides, is enormous. How big is it? If you’re talking about diameter, why that would be right around 100,000 light years. Yeah, that’s big – and Star Trek has focused on the fictional exploration of this massive galaxy. To get a sense of how expansive the Milky Way is, Voyager’s return from its position in the Delta quadrant was estimated as seventy years en route. In our own canon, there are various parts of the Milky Way being explored as we write our own stories in this fascinating Universe. The Milky Way is not, however, the only galaxy in the Universe.

Scientists aren’t sure how many galaxies there truly are. While we can see a great many of them, we can only see a tiny portion of the Universe even with the Hubble taking pictures from out in space. Some galaxies are closer than others, but one in particular stands out – or it would if it were just a little brighter. Andromeda can be seen with the naked eye when conditions are right, but it’s a rather dim resident. Recently, however, a man by the name of Tom Buckley-Houston inserted an image of Andromeda into a picture of the moon on the horizon in an attempt to show how it would appear if it were brighter. The result is a thing of beauty, but what about the accuracy? According to Phil Plait, astronomer and columnist Slate.com’s ‘Bad Astronomy’ blog states ‘that looks about right to me!’. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Andromeda really was that bright in the sky?

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