Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Back to School for the Astronomy Major

I find looking up into a star-filled night sky romantic. On a warm summer night I will often lay outside and gaze at the stars.

Could do it all night if I didn't keep falling asleep.

For me, university semester starts this week. This semester, my course: Stars and the Milky Way Galaxy.

Astronomers have a streak of romance in their souls. The mnemonic for the star types on the Main Sequence is "Oh, be a fine girl. Kiss me."

This semester's term paper is on either Dark Matter or Gamma Ray Bursts. I'm leaning towards Gamma Ray Bursts.

And now I leave you with a beautiful shot of the Andromeda Galaxy. It's a shame it's so faint in the night sky. If it was bright enough to grace the human eye, it would appear larger than the full moon.

Enjoy, and think romantic thoughts.
Adam Evans took this shot with an hydrogen-alpha filter.

Here is a big zoom video of one of the most detailed images we have.

If it were bright enough, this is how big Andromeda would look from Earth.

However due to the inverse square law, it's not terribly bright. The core, the brightest part, sits about Magnitude 3.something, so it can be seen, to a degree, by the naked eye, just off the square of Pegasus. Andromeda is the farthest object we can see with the naked eye. Impressed yet?

Her Grace shall always love the stars. True perspective comes from studying the universe.

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