Astronomy Question: Visible Stars Outside the Milky Way?
Are all the visible [to the naked eye] stars we see a part of the Milky Way, or do we see stars outside of our own galaxy?
Great question Angelo!
To answer your question, yes! Here comes the science… Bright stars are in theory visible out to roughly 30,000 l.y or so. Our galaxy (The Milky Way ) has a diameter of roughly 100,000 l.y. A little bit of research reveals a star in Cassiopeia at about 16,000 l.y with a visual magnitude of 5.84, which is just on the edge of “naked-eye” visibility.
That being said, there are objects which border on naked eye visibility that are outside our galaxy.
In dark skies and with good vision you can spot the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and Triangulum Galaxy (M33).
In the Southern Hemisphere, you can also see the Small Magellanic Cloud, and the Large Magellanic Cloud – both are “companion” galaxies to the Milky Way, and as such, are outside our galaxy, and visible to the naked eye.