WITH SEB JAY

Canal Boat - - Boater’s Break -

DID YOU KNOW that your canal boat is a time ma­chine? Granted – it might not look like a TARDIS, or feel like one. But add binoc­u­lars or a small te­le­scope, and eye­sight that passes as half-de­cent, and you re­ally can travel. For a quick out­ing this Novem­ber I rec­om­mend a visit to the An­dromeda Gal­axy. It’s a big place. You’ll find more than a tril­lion stars of dif­fer­ent sizes and ages, burn­ing away in a slow swirling or­bit around a su­per­mas­sive black hole.

Im­pres­sive, eh! But the re­ally cool bit about your visit is that you’ll be see­ing in ‘real time’ how the An­dromeda Gal­axy ap­peared two and a half mil­lion years ago. Its vast dis­tance from us, and the fact that light from its stars only trav­els at a set speed, makes this time shift pos­si­ble.

What’s more, it’s rel­a­tively easy to find. Look high up to your south-east early evening for a large square pat­tern of stars, then look for an arc of stars swing­ing out to­wards the left. The An­dromeda Gal­axy is lo­cated slightly above the first star in this arc to the left of the square.

The An­dromeda Gal­axy, im­aged by Dave Ea­gle, 2.5 mil­lion light years away

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