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Say we're on a ship traveling between the Milky Way and Andromeda. We decide to stop and take a look out our space-windows.

What do we see?

I'm presuming that the Milky Way and Andromeda would both be large and easily visible. But what about the other galaxies, further away? Would stuff normally restricted to, say, the Hubble Deep Field be visible to the naked eye, or would we end up seeing a lot of blackness?

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    $\begingroup$ Note: if you're half way to andromeda, Andromeda herself will only be twice as big as she was when you looked at her from Earth. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica May 4 '17 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ You mean the intergalactic space? $\endgroup$ – McGucket May 4 '17 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, absolutely. But from Earth, she's pretty big, and if I remember correctly, the reason we can't see Andromeda is because of the other stars. $\endgroup$ – Andon May 4 '17 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sure you saw it, but the calculations here are pretty relevant: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/79898/… $\endgroup$ – kingledion May 4 '17 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ That's the question that made me think about this question $\endgroup$ – Andon May 4 '17 at 18:55
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The Hubble Deep Feild is not a picture in the normal sense, it was a very long exposure ~140 hours total. In intergalactic space, you would probably see only a night sky that was mostly dark with hazy "stars" or patches that are actually galaxies. Possibly the shine of a supernova.

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Allow me to introduce you to the Cosmological Principle.

According to this, the universe looks the same everywhere, from wherever one stands, and in whatever direction one looks. After all, our planet Earth is in some ways nothing but a big space ship with one really big all-around window. Because we are inside a galaxy, we usually see that as a small dense area in one area of the sky, which we call the milky way.

Out there, the view will be virtually the same. There may be a small area more densely populated with stars in the direction of the nearest galaxies, but that is the only clue we will have.

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  • $\begingroup$ Better than mine +1 $\endgroup$ – Joe Kissling May 4 '17 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Nonsense. Unless you are in or close to a densely populated area, the world is equally empty in all directions. Otherwise our night skies wouldn't be 99.9% black. $\endgroup$ – Karl May 4 '17 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ The further out you look, the larger the structures (and the voids between them) become. Depending on the local density, the world looks much different. $\endgroup$ – Karl May 4 '17 at 23:41
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    $\begingroup$ @cobaltduck Im going to contend the idea that it would look the same, as the the Cosmological principle is based on the notion that "that the spatial distribution of matter in the universe is homogeneous and isotropic when viewed on a large enough scale". The scale here is the problem, and being on a ship between just two galaxies, is not large enough for this to occur. Also, I believe the effects of gravitational lensing and light attenuation would be different when sitting between the Milky Way and Andromeda. There's also the element of the speed of light dictating how 'far' we can see. $\endgroup$ – masterofimps May 5 '17 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Karl- The optimist says the sky is 0.1% filled with stars, the pessimist says it is 99.9% empty blackness. You and I can say that the sky (universe) is bigger than it needs to be? $\endgroup$ – cobaltduck May 5 '17 at 12:30
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I think that by the time you get halfway between the Milky way and Andromeda too look out the window, you would be in the middle of a galactic collision.

Even at FTL speeds it would take tens of thousands or even possibly millions of years to reach our nearest neighbor Andromeda. It is a nice thought that we could one day reach that far, but it would take an extraordinary technology and energy source to even think about a journey of that magnitude.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! If you have a moment please take the tour and visi the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name May 5 '17 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ While technically correct, that's beyond the scope of the question. I want to know what a person would see between galaxies, regardless of how they got there. $\endgroup$ – Andon May 5 '17 at 21:37

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