A clash of two galaxies

English: Great Andromeda Nebula. Public domain...

English: Great Andromeda Nebula. Public domain photo of from A Selection of Photographs of Stars, Star-clusters and Nebulae, Volume II, The Universal Press, London, 1899. Author (Isaac Roberts) died on 17 July 1904 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Mario Carr

Think you’re still when you’re sitting down. Think again. You’re actually moving thousands of kilometres per minute.

That’s because the Earth and everything in our Milky Way galaxy is on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy.

Don’t worry, it’s not suppose to happen for another four billion years. Currently we’re 2.5 million light years apart explained McMaster astronomer Laura Parker, who recently gave a talk to the club about galaxy evolution.

When this clash happens, the hundreds of billions of stars making up each spiral galaxy will merge into one gigantic elliptical galaxy. Also, the night sky will not be the same. It will be brighter from all the light of nearby stars.

Here are February stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching

The best time of the year to see Mercury is the first three weeks of the month in the western evening sky near sunset. Venus is very low in the eastern morning sky as it drops towards the sun’s glare and vanishes completely by the end of the month.

Mars is low in the south western evening twilight sky and also vanishes into the glare of the sun by month’s end. It won’t reappear until June. Jupiter is a bright object high in the sky and sets after midnight.

Saturn rises near midnight and Uranus is low in the western evening sky.

Feb. 3 – The last quarter moon is close to Saturn in the dawn sky.

Feb. 8 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m., Spectator building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton.. Free admission with door prizes. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected.

Guest speaker: McMaster University astronomer Christine Wilson, who will talk about Beyond the Visible Universe: Dark Clouds, Galaxy Collisions, and the Origin of Stars. The club’s observing director John Gauvreau will also talk about The Sky This Month.

Also on the same night, Mercury and Mars are very close to each other low in the western evening sky at dusk.

Feb. 11 –The thin crescent moon joins Mars and Mercury in the evening sky.

Feb. 17 – The first quarter moon is close to Jupiter in the evening sky.

Feb. 18 – There is a grouping of the moon, Jupiter and Aldebaran in the evening sky.

Feb. 24 –The moon is just below Regulas in the evening sky.

Feb. 25 – The full moon this month is called the Snow Moon.

Feb. 28 – The moon is very close to Spica rising just before midnight.

For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at http://www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323.

Mario Carr is the club’s director of public education and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. He can be reached at mariocarr@cogeco.ca.

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About Mario Carr

Mario Carr has a Physics degree from McMaster University and hosts this blog. He is the director of public education for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers and has helped to raise the profile of the group. He writes an astronomy column and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. Mario is the founder of the Carr Marketing Group in Burlington, Ontario and can help with your marketing, communications, publicity and public relations needs. He can be reached at www.carrmarketinggroup.com or mariocarr@cogeco.ca.
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2 Responses to A clash of two galaxies

  1. Pingback: Milky Way & Universe in a Range of Wavelengths | My Blog spiritandanimal.wordpress.com

  2. Pingback: Maybe a comet for March | The sky this month

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