Saturday, January 21, 2023

Unexpected Clouds Found Toward M31

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Astrophysics, Astronomy, Cosmology, Nature of Science, History of Science

Ed Hessler

A feature "toward the Andromeda Galaxy" were both first discovered and confirmed by amateur astronomers in 2022. 

The origin of the blue gas arcs discovered have two main hypotheses discussed in Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) for January 17, 2023. 

I think  M31, aka Andromeda Galaxy) is one of the most beautiful I know but it has a lot of competitors. And this is a spectacular addition.

What's ahead? More research, models, simulations, calculations, observations in the interest of gathering evidence strong enough to support a tentative hypothesis.

There is a full explanation, including the reason amateur astronomers are more likely to make such discoveries. It has to do with a phenomenon I'll call "patch size," a reference to how large an arc of the sky is being examined.

A good story about the nature of science, the incessant interaction between science and engineering/technology, and, of course, the drive to understand and know, too.

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