The most distant thing most people can see without a telescope is the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.537 million light years away. When you look at Andromeda, the photons making up the light you're seeing left that galaxy before humans had even evolved on planet Earth.

But things travelling at the speed of light don't experience time. From the perspective of those photons, they left Andromeda and arrived in your eye in the exact same moment.

Another of the most distant things you can see with your own eyes is the Triangulum Galaxy. At 2.73 million light years away, it's a bit more distant than Andromeda, but much harder to see without good eyesight and very dark skies

Triangulum much fainter than Andromeda, because it's less massive, contains fewer stars, and doesn't have the same bright core that Andromeda has. It also contains no central supermassive black hole – and no one knows why. It's kinda weird.

The most distant things human eyes can see are these four galaxies.

Messier 81, 8.5 million light years away. Sculptor, 11.4 million light years away. Centaurus A, 12.4 million light years away. And Messier 83, 14.7 million light years away.

Though you'd need sharp eyes to see these yourself, and skies which are both exceptionally dark and clear.

When light was leaving Messier 83, actual mastodons were still alive on Earth, the Sahara wasn't a desert, and cats didn't exist yet.

Are galaxies required to have a massive central black hole?
Looks like there's a very bright light in the center. I, definitely not a scientist, see a big sun that hasn't yet collapsed to become a black hole. But since you wrote "nobody knows", I take it that's not it 😁

@StroomAfwaarts Not required to, but they typically contain one. Which makes sense, seeing as it's the centre of an enormous gravitational well, so you'd tend to get infalling matter, and if you accumulate enough matter you get black holes. Spiral galaxies in particular, tend to contain a central black hole, so finding one with no black hole is strange.

And that's definitely not a big sun. It's a dense clump of stars, billions of times larger than a sun.

it's time for new glasses for me, then 😊 .
thanks for the explanation. it's so cool to have a real scientist around here! 💫💕

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Sunbeam City is a anticapitalist, antifascist solarpunk instance that is run collectively.