Andromeda Galaxy, M31

Andromeda Galaxy M31

 

Just visible with the naked eye on a clear night, the Andromeda Galaxy (also known as Messier 31) is about 2.2 million light years away. It is a large spiral galaxy with a dense central bulge packed with millions of stars and broad spiral arms and is part of the Local Group that includes the Milky Way in which we live. The pink colour denotes areas of ionised hydrogen (H-alpha regions) known to be the birthplace of stars. This amazing image was created by combining data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Japanese Subaru Telescope, the Mayall 4m telescope and the NOAO Digitised Sky Survey at Kitt Peak National Observatory with colour data gathered by the astronomer with his own telescope. The full size image, too big to be used here, is over 3.5 Gigabytes!

Image © Robert Gendler, with data courtesy NASA/NOAO/NOAJ

 

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