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View Poll Results: How big is the Andromeda Galaxy in the sky?
A point object, like the planets 3 9.09%
A just-distinguishable oval 5 15.15%
One fifth the width of the moon 2 6.06%
the same width as the moon 3 9.09%
five times the width of the moon 6 18.18%
twenty-five times the width of the moon 1 3.03%
The blue one next to the fish 13 39.39%
Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-21-2013, 10:49 AM   #1
pdurrant
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How big is the Andromeda Galaxy?

A quick poll on an astronomy question!

Now, I'm not asking how big the Andromeda Galaxy (the nearest big galaxy to our own Milky Way) actually is, but how big it appears to be in our night sky.

Well, it's not very bright, but if it were lots brighter, so that we could see it easily, how big would it be in the sky, compared to the only object in the sky with a visible size that we can look at easily - the moon.

I've made a picture to help you, showing Andromeda and the moon, from 25x the width of the moon down to 1/5 the width of the moon. (You can imaging a tiny oval and a point size object, I'm sure!)

The answer is behind the spoiler. No peeking until you've voted in the poll!

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Old 03-21-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
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I had to vote fish, because I had no idea.
Spoiler:
It would be super cool to see a galaxy in the night sky with the naked eye.

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Old 03-21-2013, 11:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by HomeInMyShoes View Post
I had to vote fish, because I had no idea. It would be super cool to see a galaxy in the night sky with the naked eye.
I was tempted to vote on the fish for the same reason...but I decided to make a guess instead

I have no idea how large the Andromeda galaxy is but I do know that it is huge compared to the Milky Way.

Spoiler:
Turns out my guess was correct.

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Old 03-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #4
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Fish was my vote too.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red_phoenix View Post
I have no idea how large the Andromeda galaxy is but I do know that it is huge compared to the Milky Way.
The Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies are estimated to be similar (factor of two) in size, although the Andromeda is the bigger of the two.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:17 AM   #6
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I didn't think people would be so cautious in their voting!
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I didn't think people would be so cautious in their voting!
I was incautious...
Spoiler:
and wrong!

Glad to know the true answer though.


Graham

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Old 03-21-2013, 01:57 PM   #8
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I voted
Spoiler:
"A just-distinguishable oval" -- I know my eyes better than you do!

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Old 03-21-2013, 02:17 PM   #9
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Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cromag View Post
I voted "A just-distinguishable oval" -- I know my eyes better than you do!


It is true that with the naked eye all you can actually see of the galaxy is a just-distinguishable oval. And that's somewhere with low light pollution and no moon in the sky.

Thanks for being brave and choosing an option!
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:36 PM   #10
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Spoiler:

I guessed one fifth the width of our moon. I had never imagined that it was so large as it is
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:08 PM   #11
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I thought it was a really long way to the chemist's
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
...

I've made a picture to help you, showing Andromeda and the moon, from 25x the width of the moon down to 1/5 the width of the moon. (You can imaging a tiny oval and a point size object, I'm sure!)

The answer is behind the spoiler. No peeking until you've voted in the poll!
...
... which is the correct answer if, and only if, you are standing on the Earth or are in near-Earth orbit. From other vantage points, the relative sizes are quite different.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:26 PM   #13
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... which is the correct answer if, and only if, you are standing on the Earth or are in near-Earth orbit. From other vantage points, the relative sizes are quite different.
No s#%t? You should probably write a paper or something, "Stuff looks different if you see it from a different viewpoint" - I bet nobody's noticed that, like, ever
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:31 PM   #14
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... which is the correct answer if, and only if, you are standing on the Earth or are in near-Earth orbit. From other vantage points, the relative sizes are quite different.
There are very few humans who have had a significantly different viewpoint.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:51 PM   #15
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I voted "A just-distinguishable oval"
Spoiler:
because it was the closest thing I could find to a fuzzy dot. It's barely visible to the unaided eye on the best of nights.

Edit: I should have read the first post before voting, as I thought the question was about how big it appears to the unaided eye. I would still have gotten it wrong, though. I had no idea it occupied that much of the night sky's real estate.

Last edited by pdurrant; 03-22-2013 at 05:11 AM.
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