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
is caused by the hundreds of billions of
stars that compose it. The several distinct stars that surround
are actually stars in
that are well in front of the background object.
frequently referred to as M31 since it is the 31st
Messier's list of diffuse sky objects.
M31 is so distant it takes
about two million years for light to reach us from there. Although visible without aid, the above image of M31 is a digital mosaic of
20 frames taken with a small telescope. Much about M31
remains unknown, including how the center acquired
The equipment used was a 12.5" Ritchey Chretien Cassegrain (at F6) and ST10XME.