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M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy

Technical card

Imaging telescope or lens: Takahashi FSQ-106N FSQ

Imaging camera: QSI 583wsg

Mount: apt1200gto AP1200

Guiding telescope or lens: Takahashi FSQ-106N FSQ

Guiding camera: QSI 583wsg

Resolution: 3326x2470

Dates: Aug. 23, 2009

Frames: 24x600"

Integration: 4.0 hours

Avg. Moon age: 2.91 days

Avg. Moon phase: 9.26%

Astrometry.net job: 1509667

RA center: 10.718 degrees

DEC center: 41.246 degrees

Pixel scale: 2.104 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: -87.408 degrees

Field radius: 1.211 degrees

Locations: ImagingInfinity Observatory, Bethune, SC, United States

Description

Here is the great galaxy in Andromeda, M31, captured from my observatory back in August 2009. Other than our galaxy's close companions, the Large and Small Megellanic Clouds, it is our closest major galaxy. M31, along with our own Milky Way galaxy, the great spiral galaxy M33 and M31's small companion galaxies, M32 and M110 (seen here as fuzzy patches above and below M31) form what is known as our Local Group. At a distance of 2.9 million light years, it is the most distant object visible to the naked eye. Even so, it takes a keen eye and a dark night to spot it clearly. Skies must have been much clearer and darker in past ages, since M31 was known to the Persians as early as 905 AD. It also appears on a Dutch star map circa 1500 AD. It has an apparent diameter of 3 degrees...6 times the width of the full moon.

M31 is nearly twice the size of our Milky Way at 200,000 light years in diameter. However, with an estimated mass of 300 to 400 billion suns, it is not as dense as our galaxy.

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Hap Griffin
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M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy, Hap Griffin