Andromeda, The Galaxy That Will Collide With The Milky Way, Is Already Visible To The Naked Eye In The Sky

Our galaxy is headed toward a collision with Andromeda. The best time of year to photograph it with the unaided eye begins now.

The Milky Way, our galaxy, and Andromeda, a companion twice its size, are headed for collision. Due to gravitational pressure, they are moving toward one another at a speed of 113 km/s, and although their collision is not projected to occur for 4.5 billion years, their outer layers have already started to combine.

In the meantime, Andromeda, also known as Messier 31, is visible to the unaided eye from Earth.

The spiral galaxy can be seen in the night skies of both hemispheres of our globe from mid-August to November. Even though Andromeda is 2.5 million light-years away from us, it only takes up a quarter of a degree of the sky. NASA says that this is equivalent to half the breadth of a full moon.

When will the Andromeda galaxy be visible?

Because Andromeda is so far away, it glows diffusely. Consequently, it requires not only a clear sky but also a lack of moon brightness and minimal surface light in order to be seen with the unaided eye.

Because of this, it is easiest to observe the galaxy in the evenings near the new moon phase, even if it is already visible in the sky on these dates. This stage is scheduled to arrive during the final week of August, specifically from August 24 to August 31. Similarly, one should look for a location free of light pollution, like the countryside or a region outside of a city.

How to locate Andromeda in the sky?

Around midnight in Peru and other southern hemisphere nations (Argentina, Chile, etc.), and hours earlier in the northern hemisphere nations (Mexico, Spain, etc.), the galaxy emerges above the horizon, traveling northeast.

It is situated right at the character's "belt" height, next to the Andromeda constellation, hence the name. Meanwhile, the galaxy can be found using the Pegasus constellation, which is distinguished by the quadrilateral that its stars make.

Andromeda is best seen between the hours of 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning when it is higher in the sky and facing northward.

The magnificence of this nearby galaxy is evident when using binoculars, yet to the unaided eye, it appears to be a tiny cloud with some detail.

With an apparent magnitude of 3.5—the lower the number, the brighter—Andromeda is more noticeable than the majority of stars that can be seen with the naked eye, but less noticeable than planets. (from 1 to less than 0 in magnitudes).

Because of this, professionals in astronomical observation advise anyone wishing to seek for Andromeda or any other deep-space object to try acclimating their eyes to the darkness of the sky before setting out to find them.

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