Depending where you are in the world right now, with a telescope and camera, you have an opportunity to capture amazing images of the Andromeda galaxy.
Astrophotographer Jeff Johnson took an amazing shot of the galaxy that is being shared around the web.
In an email to SPACE.COM, Johnson explains how he was able to capture the remarkable image.
In December, after 6 months of poor weather here in Las Cruces, I was able to get out during a week of leave I had from work."
Via Johnson's website, you can get a better look at the photo and processes he used. This info may come in handy for amateur astronomers and photographers alike.
In any case, Jeff Johnson is not the only one taking an interest in the closest galaxy to us (at a mere 2.5 million light years). Here are some interesting tweets about Andromeda:
Astounding. Andromeda Galaxy: dim from space dust. If it were clear, it would look like this, beside moon pic.twitter.com/dTHEPl4yAq
— kevin russell (@kevinrns) January 26, 2014
"Precipe" In this Picture you can see Andromeda Galaxy and Aurora Borealis in Oregon. Taken by GoldPaintPhotography. pic.twitter.com/5Mpv1NbvIP
— An eye of sky (@aneyeofsky) January 25, 2014
Not everyone can get a glimpse of the sky, and it's not just a matter of weather. Light pollution can be a negative contributing factor.
@SavJFaul10 it would be sick if there was a light pollution switch, we could see the andromeda galaxy if we could.
— O.G. Kells (@Kelly_StOnge) January 27, 2014
As beautiful as Andromeda is from a distance, many wonder what it would be like to see it up close. Someday, people won't have to wonder. As it turns out our galaxy, the Milky Way, and Andromeda are on a collision course.
The cosmic crossover is not expected to occur for about 5,000,000 years. Safe to say that unless you're Keith Richards, you'll be dead by then. Of course, scientists aren't expecting the collision to be truly terrible and our planet, should it still exist, will be just fine.
Check out this video on what we'll miss out on, featuring an idea of what the Andromeda/Milky Way collision may look like as it begins to occur:
In addition to being the nearest galaxy to us, Andromeda is also 260,000 light years long. That's two and a half times the size of our galaxy. But before you start thinking of the Milky Way as "puny", scientists believe that it's our galaxy that more massive due to dark matter.
Cool photo of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by amateur photographer Jeff Johnson in Dec. pic.twitter.com/4JjRcYzi9V
— Bradley Wilson (@heymrbrad) January 25, 2014
Even though none of us will exist when the Andromeda Galaxy and Milky Way merge, one has to wonder: What will the new galaxy be called? Will it be the Andro-Milky Galaxy or Meda-Way Galaxy? Or will they have an even cooler name selected?
What would you call it?