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Image Details: M031, M032 and M110

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M031, M032 and M110

Object/Name: M031 (NGC 224, The Andromeda Galaxy) Image Details:
Type: Spiral Galaxy (Sb) Luminance:10.00 min. (12) – 120.00 min. 1x1
Constellation: Andromeda Red:10.00 min. (5) – 50.00 min. 1x1
RA: 42.7 minutes Green:10.00 min. (5) – 50.00 min. 1x1
Dec: +41 degreees 16 minutes Blue:10.00 min. (4) – 40.00 min. 1x1
Distance: 2.9 - 3.0 million light years Total Time:260 minutes
Magnitude: 3.4 mag   
Size: 1.0 x 3.0 arc minutes   
Imaging Dates: 12 - 13 September 2007   
Location: 2007 Black Forest Star Party, Cherry Springs State Park, PA   
Telescope: Takahashi "New" FSQ-106ED imaging scope and FS 78 Guide scope Mount: Takahashi EM-500 Temma II
CCD: SBIG STL-11000 ABG and ST402-XME guide camera   
Software Used:
  Maxim DL for image capture CCDStack
Adobe PhotoShop CS2  
Detailed Information:
This was a collaboration with Stephen T Roffo, Jr. Stephen took the exposures with his wonderful Takahashi equipment under the very dark skies of Cherry Springs State Park. After that a collaboration on the image processing took place and this is the result.

M031 is a naked eye object under dark skies and it is one of the most distant naked eye objects. It was first discovered by the Persian astronomer, Abd-al-Rahman Al-Sufi, in the tenth century. This clasical barred spiral galaxy was originally thought to be a nebula. It was observed by Messier on 3 August 1764 but he was unable to detect any stars. In recent times this has been extensively studied due to its similarity to our Milky Way. It is thought that M031 provides the opportunity to examine our own galaxy "from the outside." While it is similar to our Milky Way galaxy it is twice as massive and it is on a collision course with our galaxy. But don't start packing just yet!

on the near side of M031 in the lower left of the picture is a bright star cluster region which has its own NGC number, NGC 206. There are numerous dark lanes and globular clusters visible. These have even been cataloged. The brightest of these, M31, G1 is the most luminous globular cluster in our local group of glaxies and it even outshines Omega Centauri.

There are two companion galaxies seen as well. M031 is the smaller one closer to M031. It is actively interacting with M031 with visible distortion in of the galaxy in the immediate vicinity. M110 is the larger, more distant galaxy to the right of M031 in this image. All three galaxies are truly interacting and not simply associated by line of sight.

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