Friday, September 11, 2015

The size of the Andromeda Galaxy

It was quite some time since I photographed the Andromeda galaxy so last night I had another go at it. For this photo I used a total exposure time of 75 minutes to bring out the details in the galaxy.

It is the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way with a distance of 2.5 million light-years. Just stop and think for that a minute, the light has traveled 2.5 million years before it arrived to Earth. Since the speed of light is ~300 000 km per second, we can quite easily come to the conclusion that the Andromeda galaxy is extremely far away.

But, since it at the same time is extremely big, its size in the sky is as big as 6 full moons placed next to each other.

In this photo I took last night I've included the size of the Moon as it appears in the sky, just so that you can get an idea on how big the Andromeda galaxy really is in the sky. Since the light from the galaxy also is very faint due to the long distance, we can just barley see the galaxy with the naked eye. But if we could see it in its full glory, this is how big it would look compared to the Moon. Quite a view.


Nikon D810A, Nikon AF-S 300mm/f2.8, 75 minute exposure, ISO 1600

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