Sunday, March 31, 2013

Comet PanSTARRS heading to Andromeda Galaxy

If you had binoculars with a 20 x 25 degree field of view, you could have seen a scene a lot like this picture. Comet PanSTARRS is at centre, while the Andromeda Galaxy looks a little fainter at the top right.


To appreciate the distances in this picture, the lights of Oakville and Mississauga on the shore of Lake Ontario are 45 kilometres away. The clouds are about the same. The bright star at top left, called Mirach, is 197 light years away, Andromeda is 2,300,000 light years away.

Over the next few nights PanSTARRS will get closer to Andromeda and then pass it in the sky.