The Andromeda Galaxy

Wednesday, October 6 - Thursday, October 7, 2010
10:38 pm - 1:56 am EDT
CAMERA: Canon 550D (Hutech modified)
100 minutes (20 x 5 minutes) @ ISO 800
Okie-Tex Star Party (Camp Billy Joe located near Kenton, Oklahoma)
TMB-92SS triplet apochromatic refractor (with Tele Vue Focal Reducer/Field Flattener)
MOUNT: Celestron CGEM Computerized Mount
GUIDING: Borg Mini 50mm refractor and Orion StarShoot AutoGuider
Images obtained, aligned, stacked, and dark frame subtracted with Nebulosity 2.  Further processing done with Adobe Photoshop CS3 (using Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools), Noise Ninja 2 and GradientXTerminator.
The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is the sister galaxy to our own Milky Way.  Lying 14º to the northeast of Alpheratz, the upper-left star of the Great Square of Pegasus, it appears as a 3º detached cloud of the Milky Way.  Best estimates put M31’s distance at 2.5 million light-years.  Using its distance, angular size, and some simple trigonometry gives a diameter of approximately 170,000 light-years!  Depending on what book you read, M31 has between 200 million and 1 trillion stars!  Also visible in the image are two of Andromeda’s two dwarf elliptical galaxies.  Closest to the disk of Andromeda is M32 and further out is NGC 205 or M110.