Incredible Views: Comet PANSTARRS Meets the Andromeda Galaxy

by Nancy Atkinson on April 3, 2013

Two objects 2.5 million lightyears apart... PanSTARRS & Andromeda.  Credit and copyright: Brendan Alexander.

Two objects 2.5 million lightyears apart… PanSTARRS & Andromeda. Credit and copyright: Brendan Alexander.

We warned you it was going to happen, and here’s visual proof! In this comet encounter of the extragalactic kind, Comet PanSTARRS and the Andromeda Galaxy met each other in the skies above Earth. This great image by Brendan Alexander in Ireland shows the spectacular view. He said it was “a difficult image to capture due to low cloud, the low altitude of the target and tracking issue. I hope to get the chance to improve on this!”

Here’s another image from UT reader Anna Morris:


Comet PANSTARRS and the Andromeda galaxy over Suffolk, England on April 2, 2013. This composite images shows the movement of the comet during the imaging session. Credit and copyright: Anna Morris.

Comet PANSTARRS and the Andromeda galaxy over Suffolk, England on April 2, 2013. This composite images shows the movement of the comet during the imaging session. Credit and copyright: Anna Morris.

Want to see this meetup for yourself? Tonight might be even better:

Comet PANSTARRS shown every three days as it moves across Andromeda, passing near the Andromeda Galaxy around April 3. You can use Cassiopeia to point you to Beta Andromedae and from there to the comet.  The map shows the sky facing northwest about one hour after sunset. Comet and galaxy brightness are exaggerated for the sake of illustration. Stellarium

Comet PANSTARRS shown every three days as it moves across Andromeda, passing near the Andromeda Galaxy around April 3. You can use Cassiopeia to point you to Beta Andromedae and from there to the comet. The map shows the sky facing northwest about one hour after sunset. Comet and galaxy brightness are exaggerated for the sake of illustration. Stellarium

Did you capture this event, too? Let us know, or upload your images to our Flickr page.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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