You Be the Astrophysicist: What is the Velocity of M31?
Credit & Copyright: Jason Ware
You have been given a challenge question by your astronomy professor. The
first person to solve the question, using astronomical experiments and
data (instead of looking up the answer in a book) will be excused from
exams for the rest of the year! With this motivating factor, you set out to
answer the question, "what is the radial velocity (the velocity in a
straight line towards or away from us) of the galaxy M31 with
respect to our galaxy?"
Resources available to you include the University's intro astronomy
equipment (for example an optical telescope), as well as astronomical data
available in print and on-line. Use your good understanding of the laws of
physics to select an experiment which will help you to find the answer.
With which experiment would you like to begin?