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That and including a standard scale for apparent width.

I always thought that photos of other galaxies resolved into specks the size of stars in the night sky. This composite of Andromeda and the moon blew my mind: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap061228.html




Agreed, absolutely amazed me when I saw it.

I think this is actually a better picture as it puts them both in the sky for a more natural comparison (to me): https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--Mxc-LeD...

Andromeda side to side is ~6 times the width of the moon, IIRC.

Just imagine being able to see that galaxy clearly! In fact (he says bitterly) just imagine being able to seem the damn stars any more. If you've never had a chance to see them, on a moonless night without artifical light wrecking everything, and have the chance to see infinity slowly unfold like a flower as your eyes adjust and take in more, watching the ethereal edge of the milky way appear in greater and greater detail, then you have missed one of the most beautiful sights that exist. Perhaps the most beautiful, perhaps. It really is that special.


But that isnt what you would see by eye or even a normal telescope. That is a long-exposure image. By eye you can only see the brighter/smaller core. Get a more sensitive camera, something able to see the diffuse gas and dimmer stars, and andromeda would be twice even that size.


I think the goal is to get a better sense of "how much of my visual space would this object occupy if I could see it". I had no idea Andromeda would appear larger than the moon from here if I could see it with my naked eyes. That really helps me get a sense of the size.

"Wow, it's that large even though it's that far away!?"


I don't think anyone is under the impression that image can be seen with the naked eye.


You're right! But I tried tonight just to see if it was possible to see anything at all. My eyes are kind of shitty but we live out in the boonies with no light pollution. There's a little 'yellow brick road' of stars that lead you to it and if i looked slightly aside i could juuuuuuuuust make out the slightest smudge where it is supposed to be. It was right on the edge of my ability to perceive it, need to try again after spending an hour in the dark.


Holy hell, thank you for that! I was under the same impression as well. The photo just made me appreciate how big the galaxies are!




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