Last week I attended the July meeting for the local astronomy club. Dick, one of the clubs’ long-time members, gave a talk on his experiences while earning the Astronomical League’s Local Galaxy Group & Neighborhood Introduction certificate.
As I sat there listening to his talk, I began to realize that, in all my years of studying and observing and hanging around with other amateur astronomers, I never gave much serious thought to what was just outside our galaxy. By basically ignoring the Local Group, I’m really missing the big picture.
I needed to regain that perspective – that we’re bound to these 54+ galaxies by a gravitational center, and that the Messier Marathon is more than just trying to locate fuzzy objects in the night sky.
Dick’s talk has got me curious about the Local Group, and it is research for the future. That’s one of the things that makes astronomy such a great hobby – just when I think I’ve started to figure everything out, a whole new door opens up and blows me away!