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Trip from Andromeda

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

Riding on a light beam for 2.5 million years at the speed of light. my friend Bob Raver and I traveled to Earth to investigate its ecosphere. Well this story needs further explanation. 

I was director for the Environmental Education School at Bryce Canyon National Park for a few years in the 1970’s. Student teachers from Southern Utah State College spent their summer teaching at the environmental school. Children were dropped at the school so parents could enjoy extensive hikes on canyon trails. Children explored the park wonders by perusing their interests with teachers. It was wonderful for parents and children.

I regularly stopped at the school to see if things were going well, if teachers needed assistance, and to review programming. Bob and I had told the teachers we came from the Andromeda Galaxy and they didn’t believe us. 

One day we arrived at the school before heading to our assigned 16-mile Fairyland Trail roving patrol to greet hikers in the backcountry. The teachers asked us to put pins on the world map at our home location. I put mine in Michigan and Bob put his in California. They said, “See, we knew you weren’t from Andromeda,” and showed us where they had written the galaxy name at map’s edge. We moved our pins to our galaxy home. 

Within the week a newspaper reporter arrived to do a story on the environmental school. In the subsequent article she listed locations where children came from. They included places like London, , Germany, Anchorage, Alaska, and Andromeda. Ever since, I have said, it must be true because it was in the paper. 

Hopefully people that listen to TV news, read newspapers, or look up Internet information, work to verify the accuracy of what is reported. Many things reported are short sound bites that are not fully supported with physical evidence. Fortunately, science requires multiple studies to verify conclusions before being accepted.

I make an effort to write things in niche articles that are supported with overwhelming physical empirical evidence. Hopefully, my errors are few and preferably zero. Scientific studies are sometimes not as well supported as thought but more frequently they are dismissed because they are not what people desire to believe. What we believe and what empirical evidence supports sometimes have different conclusions. 

Back to my “home” galaxy of Andromeda. It has about one trillion stars where it is statistically possible that some might have planets supporting life. The galaxy is similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy in several ways. It is a spiral galaxy. Elliptical and irregular galaxies are two other types that have been identified. 

Winter is a great time on a dark moonless night to observe Andromeda without the aid of a telescope or binoculars. During a recent dark clear night, I went out and looked “home.” To view it one needs to know where to look and how to see it. If one looks directly at it, the galaxy is invisible because eye cones are not sensitive to dim light. They are responsible for color vision and are concentrated toward the center of the eye. 

Rods are found numerously in high concentration farther from the pupil. When looking at Andromeda, it is necessary to look off to the side for our eyes to bring it into dim view. To find it, locate the Little Dipper constellation with the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia constellations on opposite sides of the Little Dipper. Cassiopeia looks like a lopsided W with five prominent stars. From the middle W star look to the lower right star. Allow your eye to travel about 2.5 times the distance between the two stars in Cassiopeia. The galaxy is not in straight alignment with the two stars. It is a little to one side of the straight line. 

For those wanting to see this dim closest galaxy, I will set up an observation night at Ody Brook for people to join at 9:30 p.m. It will require a clear night and if I cannot help you see it, we can enjoy stars, constellations, and discuss how early cultures used the sky for crop planting, travel, and other things. Contact me to sign up for night sky enjoyment. I will select a night for Earthlings to come and will have a telescope for our viewing.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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