The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and Neighbors

All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here for a higher resolution image.

Magnitude:  4.5
Size: 2.1 degrees
Distance: 2.2 million light years
RA: 0h 43m 08s
Dec: 41 degrees 19' 54"

The Great Andromeda Galaxy is the most prominent member of our local group, which includes the large and small Magellanic Clouds, M33 (Pinwheel Galaxy), and the neighboring elliptical galaxies M110 and M32, seen above at 5 o'clock and 10 o'clock (just off center), respectively.  At a dark site, M31 is a naked eye object, although for city and suburban dwellers it's almost impossible to view without a telescope.  The central portion glows slightly yellow as a result of older stars, whereas the periphery has a characteristic bluish hue due to a predominance of younger stars.   Please click here for a higher resolution image.

Photographic Details:

Date:  November 15, 2003
Scope:  Takahashi Sky 90 at f4.5 with field flattener/focal reducer, piggybacked on LX90 (which is mounted on a Meade Superwedge).
Autoguider:  STV with e-finder.
Camera:  Canon 10D.
Filter:  IDAS LPS.
Exposures:  12 x 5' at ISO 800.
Conditions:  Temperature 29 degrees F; average transparency; average seeing; occassional wind (3 shots out of 15 had slightly oblong stars and were not used).
Raw conversion, adaptive dark frame calibration, alignment, adaptive addition done in ImagesPlus; Levels, curves, and layer mask adjustments in Photoshop; final smoothing done in Pleiades SGBNR software.  The use of adaptive addition for combining in ImagesPlus was superior to other combination methods for this image.

Please note:  Graphics on this website may not be reproduced without author permission.

Back to Galaxies