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The Great Andromeda Galaxy and Companions

Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Our Galaxy is thought to look much like Andromeda. Together these two galaxies dominate the Local Group of galaxies. The diffuse light from Andromeda is caused by the hundreds of billions of stars that compose it. The several distinct stars that surround Andromeda's image are actually stars in our Galaxy that are well in front of the background object. Andromeda is frequently referred to as M31 since it is the 31st object on Messier's list of diffuse sky objects. M31 is so distant it takes about two million years for light to reach us from there. Much about M31 remains unknown, including how the center acquired two nuclei. (Text adapted from Astronomy Picture of the Day)

This image is a composite from black and white images taken with the Palomar Observatory's 48-inch (1.2-meter) Samuel Oschin Telescope as a part of the second National Geographic Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS II). The images were recorded on two type of glass photographic plates - one sensitive to red light and the other to blue and later they were digitized. Credit: Caltech, Palomar Observatory, Digitized Sky Survey.

In order to produce the color image seen here, I worked with data coming from 6 different photographic plates taken between 1986 and 1993. Original file is 21.299 x 13.775 pixels with a resolution of about 1 arcsec per pixel. The image shows an area of sky large 5,9 x 3,8 (for comparison, the full-Moon is about 0,5 in diameter). Color composite, copyright: Davide De Martin.

Available for Museum, Planetariums, Publishers and Authors in very high-resolution (293 megapixels). Please, e-mail me with your request.


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All images presented in this website are copyrighted Davide De Martin (2005-2014) otherwise noted. Reproduction or distribution of these images is not permitted without written consent. See also my policy of the use of images for further details or email me. Comments are welcome.
The astronomical images presented in this site were created with the help of the ESA/ESO/NASA FITS Liberator.