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The Great Andromeda Galaxy - M31

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)

Full-res file is about 83 Megapixels with a resolution of about 1 arcsec per pixel. It shows an area of sky large 3,5 x 1,8 (for comparison, the full-Moon has a diameter of about 0,5).
The image is available for Museum, Planetariums, exhibitions, publishers and authors in very high-resolution. If interested in using the image, please read my policy or e-mail me with your request.

Copyright: Davide De Martin.

This color image is based on data coming from several photographic plates taken between 1986 and 1993 through 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 photographs 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.


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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.