Enchanted Skies


M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy (imaged from White Sands N.M.)

M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy Map of the Region near M31


Object Information                                            Imaging Details

The Andromeda Galaxy is an immense island of nearly 2 billion stars floating 2.52 million light-years away from our home galaxy. Together with M33, the Milky Way and a handful of dwarf galaxies, M31 is in the local cluster of galaxies which is part of a much larger super cluster (the Virgo Supercluster). M31 is moving toward our galaxy and should interact (collide) with it in about 3 billion years.

M31 is an easy naked eye object - the furthest observable object for most individuals. By eye it appears as a large faint smudge. It is best viewed with binoculars that allow a wide field of view (the galaxy spans over 4 degrees of the night sky)

This image was taken from my back yard. Even though I used a light pollution filter, the sky glow cut down on the contrast and created a light pollution gradient that took some time to eliminate.

Clicking the above image will bring up a higher resolution image. Clicking the map gives a more detailed image of the location of the galaxy.

Celestron NexStar GPS11
Canon 300D (type 1 modified)
Misc. Optics:
HyperStar 3
30, 60 and 180 seconds @ ISO 800
Through Orion ED80 piggybacked atop C11. Autoguiding was done with GuideDog and a ToUCam.
Images were aligned and stacked in Nebulosity. Curves, levels and sharpening adjustments were done with Photoshop CS. Noise reduction was performed with Noise Ninja.

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Enchanted Skies - Astrophotography by Rich Richins (all images copyright, Rich Richins)