Is there any technology that would allow me to see the Andromeda Galaxy in real time?

The Andromeda Galaxy is really big (about seven times wider than the full moon) but really dim. So even on a very dark night all you can see of it with the naked human eye is a fuzzy little blob.

Obviously you can get pretty pictures of it with extended photographic exposures, but are there any sort of light amplifying goggles that I could look through that would let me see Andromeda in all its glory in real-time? It would be really cool to just look up and see it hanging up there!

Light amplifying goggles. Lower magnification might actually be better for Andromeda, and 8x56 or so perhaps. Not sure really.

Do you really mean “real time,” as in seeing what it looks like right now? I don’t think so.

I think they mean in “real time” as opposed to “looking at a nice photograph of it”. :slight_smile:

One “dirty little secret” about those magnificent Hubble or other large telescope pictures of those wonderful astronomical images you see in all the books. They are what no human eye could ever see. Those images are often false color to bring out the elements contained with in or highly contrasted to bring out structure or very long exposures because of the dimness. They “play” with those pictures to bring out the best science or just to provide a very pretty picture for the media, the objects are “real” but they don’t really look like that if you know what I mean.

Hubble also doesn’t have to deal with atmospheric distortion, which at that level of magnification is significant if you want crisp detail.

By “real time” I mean “without a significant delay while the image is built up or processed”.

It would be cool to be able to put on a pair of goggles, walk out in the backyard, look up, and see the Andromeda Galaxy up there, dominating the sky. It’s not so important if the colors aren’t correct. I’m just wondering if any existing light-amplification technology would let me see the full extent of the galaxy like that.

Does it have to be goggles. I’ve always found the microchannel plate-with-viewing lens of night-vision and IR-viewer technology to be disappointing and easily thrown out of focus.

An awful lot of astronomers now use CCD cameras attached to their telescopes that feed into a computer or monitor. There’s your angular magnification and light amplification put together, right there. In fact, you could get different channels for different wavelength bins and get color or false color. It’s actually the pretty standard telescope technology. Go see your local astronomy club.

Gen III night vision claims amplifications of 20-40,000 times. But, you would need a very dark sky to see anything other than skyglow. Also, the resolution of night vision goggles pretty much stinks. There is some discussion on the web of people using night vision for astrophotography, the the general consensus is that it doesn’t work very well.

No matter what you do, the Andromeda Galaxy will never dominate the sky. It will always be a tiny smudge to your eye.

A pair of binoculars or a small telescope with an eyepiece, maybe?

It will (at least to the degree that the Milky Way does now) if you wait a while. It’s headed toward us, and will probably collide with the Milky Way.

OK, you’ll have to wait about 3 billion years. And meanwhile you’ll have to deal with the Earth getting too hot for life as the Sun gets brighter as a part of normal Main Sequence stellar aging.

Have any astronauts reported how it looked to them in the blackness of space?

It’s seven times wider than the full moon, how is that a “tiny smudge”?

Ideally I wouldn’t want any magnification at all. I’d like to see it the size that it is, just much brighter.

Its visible light to the naked eye is a tiny smudge.

That’s what all the discussion about light amplification is about…

Yes, but the OP is quite expressly not talking about the naked eye.

Nope. It could be a video camera connected to a computer, or something similar.

Basically, what I’m asking is “With modern light-amplification technology can I create a set-up where I can see the spiral of Andromeda without an extended exposure time?” Or is it just too dim, or the sky too bright.

And I’m not interested in magnification. I think it would be cool to see it the size it is in the sky, not enlarged in any way.