Andromeda – M31

The Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, or NGC 224 and originally the Andromeda Nebula (see below), is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth, and the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way. The galaxy’s name stems from the area of the Earth’s sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda.

The virial mass of the Andromeda Galaxy is of the same order of magnitude as that of the Milky Way, at 1 trillion solar masses (2.0×1042 kilograms). The mass of either galaxy is difficult to estimate with any accuracy, but it was long thought that the Andromeda Galaxy is more massive than the Milky Way by a margin of some 25% to 50%. This has been called into question by a 2018 study which cited a lower estimate on the mass of the Andromeda Galaxy, combined with preliminary reports on a 2019 study estimating a higher mass of the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy has a diameter of about 220,000 ly, making it the largest member of the Local Group at least in terms of extension, if not mass.

Andromeda Galaxy - M31

The number of stars contained in the Andromeda Galaxy is estimated at one trillion (1×1012), or roughly twice the number estimated for the Milky Way.

The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are expected to collide in around 4.5 billion years, merging to form a giant elliptical galaxy or a large lenticular galaxy. With an apparent magnitude of 3.4, the Andromeda Galaxy is among the brightest of the Messier objects making it visible to the naked eye from Earth on moonless nights, even when viewed from areas with moderate light pollution.


Photos taken on 01-04.8.2019 at Zwardoń during PTMA rally.

  • Equipment: Canon EOS 6D, SkyWatcher Newton 1000/200 [mm], F5, coma corrector, NEQ6Pro.,
  • Composition: Astro Pixel Processor,
  • Processing: GIMP v2.10.14 + plug-ins (Linux),
  • Lights in the two session: 80 x 60[s] ISO 1000 + 4 x 120[s] ISO 1000 = 84 best frames,
  • Flats: 42 ISO-1000,
  • Darks: 28 ISO-1000,
  • Bias: 20 ISO-1000