Best of AOP - Galaxies

M31 (Andromeda Galaxy)

M31 is the closest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way. Located 2.3 million light years away one can easily find this in the Andromeda constellation with their naked eye on clear moonless nights. Historically speaking this galaxy is first mentioned by the Persian astronomer Al Sufi in the year 905 A.D. and can be found on star charts dating back before the invention of the telescope. On clear moonless nights away from city lights and with a pair of quality binoculars this object can be traced out to an angular size of 4 degrees. To give you a comparison the full moon has an angular size of just 1/2 a degree. NOAO has a nice image to demonstrate this angular scale.

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Last Updated: 19-Feb-2014

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About This Image

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Takahashi FSQ (106) refractor

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

This is a three frame mosaic. The exposure times refer to each frame.

The dynamic range of this image is compressed significantly to show the inner and outer features of the galaxy.

Luminance = combined binned 1x1

Red = 30 minutes binned 1x1

Green = 30 minutes binned 1x1

Blue = 30 minutes binned 1x1

Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF