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M31 The Great Andromeda Galaxy


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To the true romantic of astronomy, M31 will always be known as the "Great Nebula in Andromeda" - a name bestowed upon it before spectroscopy revealed that this luminous mist was not the protoplasmic soup of a solar system in formation but a distant island universe like our own Milky Way Galaxy. An enormous pinwheel of dust and gas, the Andromeda Galaxy contains some 300 billion suns spread across 130,000 light years. It is rushing toward us at 185 miles per second. M31 is among the largest galaxies known and is by far the largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes our Milky Way and some two dozen smaller systems. The Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies dominate the Local Group with their size, with M31 being twice as massive as our Milky Way. And though we see the Andromeda Galaxy nearly edge on, astronomers see enough structure to speculate that the Milky Way is similar in shape and structure. If you were in the Andromeda Galaxy looking at the Milky Way, the Milky Way would appear much the same way as M31 does to us.

Optics: Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L lens @ f/2.8
Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Synscan pro
Guiding: Vixen ED81S, DMK21AU04, PHD guiding
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (piggy back)
Filters: -
Constellation: Andromeda
Date: 22 Jul, 2012
Location: Parnonas Mountain, Greece
Exposure: 1x5 min ISO 800 (light frames), 3x5 min ISO 800 (dark frame)
Software: PHD guiding, ImagesPlus, Nebulosity, Adobe Photoshop


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