“What if?” is a question we ask all the time. Here is a YouTube video and some screenshots of how celestial objects would appear in the night sky is they could be seen, and it’s simply amazing.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos asked the same question and created this series of stunning pictures. It shows what the sky might look like if these objects were close enough for us to see them with our naked eyes.
“Beautiful video… Just perfect,” YouTube user Alexander Ivanov wrote. “But it is good that we are far away from the black hole.”
Our sky, if some celestial objects were closer to us:
Galaxy of Andromeda
The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is the closest large galaxy to the Milky Way, and is one of a few galaxies that can be seen unaided from the Earth. In approximately 4.5 billion years, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way are expected to collide, and the result will be a giant elliptical galaxy. Andromeda is accompanied by 14 dwarf galaxies, including M32, M110, and possibly M33 (The Triangulum Galaxy), wrote Space Facts.
The Ring Nebula
Except for the rings of Saturn, the Ring Nebula (M57) is probably the most famous celestial band. Its classic appearance is understood to be due to our own perspective, though. The recent mapping of the expanding nebula’s 3-D structure, based in part on this clear Hubble Telescope image, indicates that the nebula is a relatively dense, donut-like ring wrapped around the middle of a football-shaped cloud of glowing gas, NASA wrote.
The Crab Nebula
When a star dies in a violent, fiery death, it spews its innards out across the sky, creating an expanding wave of gas and dust known as a supernova nebula. Arguably the most famous of these supernova remnants is M1, also called the Crab Nebula, a blob-like patch visible using low-powered binoculars, said Space.com.
The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules
The Great Cluster in the constellation Hercules—also known as Messier 13, or M13—is considered to be the finest globular cluster in the northern half of the heavens. It’s found in a star pattern called the Keystone—a lopsided square within the constellation Hercules—between the two brightest stars of northern spring and summer, Vega and Arcturus, wrote Earth Sky.
Some stars behave as if it’s better to burn out than to fade away. These stars end their evolution in massive cosmic explosions known as supernovae. When supernovae explode, they jettison matter into space at some 9,000 to 25,000 miles (15,000 to 40,000 kilometers) per second. These blasts produce much of the material in the universe—including some elements like iron, which make up our planet and even ourselves, National Geographic said.
The Whirlpool Galaxy
The Whirlpool Galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy. At only 30 million light years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51, also known as NGC 5194, is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies in the sky. This image is a digital combination of a ground-based image from the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory and a space-based image from the Hubble Space Telescope highlighting sharp features normally too red to be seen, NASA wrote.
The Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, is a conspicuous object in the night sky with a prominent place in ancient mythology. The cluster contains hundreds of stars, of which only a handful are commonly visible to the unaided eye. The stars in the Pleiades are thought to have formed together around 100 million years ago, making them 1/50th the age of our sun, and they lie some 130 parsecs (425 light-years) away, Naic.edu wrote.
Don’t let the name fool you: A black hole is anything but empty space. Rather, it is a great amount of matter packed into a very small area—think of a star 10 times more massive than the Sun squeezed into a sphere approximately the diameter of New York City. The result is a gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape, NASA said.
These would be truly amazing sights. If our sky looked like this, I’m guessing more people would go camping.