The configuration of galaxies in space

In summary: Andromeda is positioned above the Milky Way in the P1 position, but its plane alignment is the same as the Milky Way. In summary, the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are both part of the Local Group of galaxies. Andromeda is positioned in the P1 position, slightly below the plane of the Milky Way and away from its center. This can be visualized using galactic coordinates, which can be found on databases such as ned.ipac.caltech.edu. Additionally, planetarium software can also be used to visualize the orientation and alignment of galaxies.
  • #1
PainterGuy
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TL;DR Summary
How to find the alignments for different galaxies in sky? If they are horizontally aligned, vertically aligned, or skewed or tilted when viewed from Earth.
Hi,

In the picture below, M is Milky Way Galaxy in red, both A's are Andromeda Galaxy in positions P1 and P2 , and W is some random galaxy.

Milky Way Galaxy lie in one plane just like all the planets in solar system. In what configuration Andromeda Galaxy lies? Does it lie almost at the same level as Milky Way Galaxy? For example, the W galaxy lies in almost in the same plane as Milky Way. Does Andromeda lie in position P1 up above the Milky Way but its plane alignment is the same as Milky Way? Or, does Andromeda lie in position P2 where it's aligned along z-axis?

Wikipedia page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy, does give the coordinates, capture at the bottom, for it but I don't know how to interpret celestial coordinates, and if celestial coordinates convey any info about its alignment.
1646123696150.png


1646124986503.png
 
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  • #2
You could search for information and images of the "local group of galaxies".
 
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  • #3
For nearby galaxies PeroK's suggestion would be the easiest and most intuitive.

If you want to picture any galaxy in general, you can go to a database of extragalactic objects, such as this one: https://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/ and search for the name of the object (common name, designation in Messier, NGC, anything should do). Keep in mind the database queries may take a few seconds to process.
It'll display a set of data, including galactic coordinates (latitude and longitude). Galactic coordinates allow for easy picturing where in relation to the plane of the Milky Way does any object lie.
The longitude (l) and latitude (b) are measured like so:
1646142609195.png

With galactic north being towards the constellation of Coma Berenices and 90 deg longitude in the direction of the Sun's orbital motion through the galaxy, roughly towards the star Deneb.

E.g. for Andromeda the database returns l=121 b=-22 so it's a bit below the plane and a bit away from the galactic centre.

Another visualisation option is to use a planetarium software (e.g. Celestia), and find galactic coordinate grid in the display options before searching for the object.
Or, of course, going out at night and finding where the object lies w/r to the band of the Milky Way (i.e. its plane) and its centre in Sagittarius.How much an object is oriented edge-on or face-on can usually be readily seen from the pictures.
 
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  • #4
PeroK said:
You could search for information and images of the "local group of galaxies".
I did try to search for some images but it didn't make much sense and wanted to get a general idea to know the orientation and alignment of a galactic plane.

I think the following image comes close to it. One can Andromeda from Earth and its center is also visible,

1646190114095.png

Source: https://ourplnt.com/andromeda-brighter/
 
  • #5
We were thinking something more like this:
1646233931346.png
 
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Related to The configuration of galaxies in space

1. How do galaxies form?

Galaxies are formed through the process of gravitational collapse, where gas and dust in the universe are pulled together by their own gravity. This results in the formation of a dense core, which eventually becomes a galaxy.

2. What factors influence the shape of a galaxy?

The shape of a galaxy is influenced by its mass, rotation, and interactions with other galaxies. Spiral galaxies are typically more massive and have a higher rate of rotation, while elliptical galaxies have lower mass and slower rotation.

3. What is the significance of the distribution of galaxies in space?

The distribution of galaxies in space can provide insights into the evolution of the universe, as well as the properties and interactions of different types of galaxies. It can also help us understand the distribution of dark matter and the expansion of the universe.

4. How do scientists study the configuration of galaxies in space?

Scientists use various techniques, such as spectroscopy and imaging, to study the configuration of galaxies in space. These methods allow them to measure properties such as distance, size, and composition of galaxies, and create maps of their distribution in the universe.

5. Can the configuration of galaxies change over time?

Yes, the configuration of galaxies can change over time due to various factors, such as mergers with other galaxies, interactions with dark matter, and the expansion of the universe. This is why studying the evolution of galaxies is crucial in understanding the history and future of the universe.

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