Built on Facts

The Starry Weekend

This weekend finds me on the road again, and driving a few hundred miles across rural Texas and Louisiana puts one in the mind to contemplate the expanse above. You’re only about an hour’s drive from space right now, if you can find a car that will go straight up. But for now we have to settle for looking.

The sky of the fall has much to offer. Pegasus is right above you, and just to its edge in Andromeda is the Andromeda galaxy. With a suitably dark sky and knowledge of where to look you can see it with the naked eye. As far as I know, it’s the most distant thing in the universe which is visible to the unaided eye, barring transient phenomena like supernova. In binoculars it’s visible from light-polluted skies and is very impressive in even only modestly dark skies.

Why not give it a try tonight? It will only take a few moments and you’ll be surprised at just how awe inspiring looking at another galaxy can be.

Comments

  1. #1 Uncle Al
    October 25, 2008

    Photograph Orion’s sword with 35 mm IR film and a deep yellow or orange filter. Good through a modestly long lens, way better though a guided telescope. The middle “star” is very naughty in the NIR compared to the other two. A webcam less its IR filter and with a deep yellow or orange filter might work.