Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Contains:  Great Nebula in Andromeda  ·  M 110  ·  M 31  ·  M 32  ·  NGC 205  ·  NGC 221  ·  NGC 224
M31 Mosaic - Eight Frames of the Great Andromeda Galaxy, 


            Jay Ballauer
M31 Mosaic - Eight Frames of the Great Andromeda Galaxy
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M31 Mosaic - Eight Frames of the Great Andromeda Galaxy

Technical card

Imaging telescopes or lenses: RCOS 12.5" Truss RC

Mounts: Software Bisque Paramount ME

Software: Software Bisque TheSky X Professional  ·  Pleiades Astrophoto PixInsight 1.8.5 Ripley

Dates:Sept. 2, 2019

Frames: 183x600"

Integration: 30.5 hours

Avg. Moon age: 3.55 days

Avg. Moon phase: 13.61%

Basic astrometry details

Astrometry.net job: 2921172

RA center: 0h 42' 44"

DEC center: +41° 16' 55"

Pixel scale: 0.730 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 268.676 degrees

Field radius: 1.169 degrees

Resolution: 9003x7200

Locations: Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus, Crowell, Texas, United States

Data source: Own remote observatory

Remote source: Non-commercial independent facility


Shooting a mosaic, especially an 8-frame color LRGB image, is not for the faint of heart! But every now and then we astrophotographers get the urge to push our skills and our equipment. The result of such mosaics, like this one of the very familiar M31, Andromeda Galaxy, is to achieve fine resolution (detail) as delivered by the long focal length optics WITH the wide field of view typically given by shorter focal length scopes and lenses.

Meaning? A huge galaxy such as Messier 31, Andromeda’s catalog designation, can be captured completely, yet in terrific detail.

​This galaxy (found within the constellation Andromeda) isn’t the closest galaxy to us, but it’s pretty close...only 2.5 million light years away. That’s 1.47 x 10^19 miles, if you need that perspective. As pictured, you could fit 7 or 8 or our moons across the disk of this galaxy from our sky perspective. It’s huge and it’s a naked eye object in most rural-to-suburban skies.

Oh, BTW, any star that you see in this image (click on it to see the full resolution image) is in our own Milky Way galaxy, since we have to look through our own neighborhood to see the next. Stars in Andromeda are too small to see from this distance, though you can witness clusters of them together, especially all the globulars that have their own set of designations.

How many stars are there in Andromeda? Well, you are staring at about 1 trillion stars, give or take a couple. That is about 4 or 5 times the number within our own galaxy.

One of the more intriguing aspects of M31 is that the light captured here first left that galaxy around 2.5 million years ago. In other words, looking into the sky is about as close to actual time travel as we can experience.

Exposure Info: Eight frame LRGB mosaic for the grayscale data, taken with the PL-16803 unbinned. Approximately 16 hours total luminance. Color data taken mostly in 5 RGB frames covering the galaxy disk, each frame averaging 2.5 hours for approximately 14 hours of total RGB color (all 2x2 binned). A small part of color was borrowed from Nikon D810a image of taken last year (36 minutes using a small Tak FSQ-85ED apo refractor).



Jay Ballauer
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


M31 Mosaic - Eight Frames of the Great Andromeda Galaxy, 


            Jay Ballauer