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The Andromeda Galaxy - M31 by octane2 The Andromeda Galaxy - M31 by octane2
The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in Andromeda

Click here to view it on a black background to appreciate shadow and highlight detail

When I was a kid, I remember reading in the newspaper that the Andromeda Galaxy would be visible in the north-eastern sky at a particular time of the night. My father had bought me a pair of Hanimex 7x50 binoculars as a birthday gift and I recall waking up and trying in vain to see this majestic object which was touted as being the most distant visible object to the unaided human eye.

I had no idea what a planisphere was, or what the constellations looked like. I remember reading that I had to look for the Great Square of Pegasus and navigate my way to the galaxy. Alas, I never found it on that night, or on subsequent nights.

Anyhow, that's how my love of astronomy was born.

20-something years later, I have been fortunate enough to photograph this most beautiful of celestial treasure-troves.

I couldn't wait to process this (as will be noted by not adding my normal frame and signature to the image). This was a very rough processing job. I will add some hydrogen alpha to this and re-visit it.

6.5 hours LRGB: 210 60 60 60.

I must say, though, that I am completely in love with PixInsight. What a remarkable piece of software!

M31 is one of the grandest and majestic objects in the night sky, and, easily the most famous galaxy outside of our own Milky Way.

It's easily visible in the northern hemisphere as a hazy patch to the unaided eye about the width of 5 full moons side by side. Those of us in the southern hemisphere must travel to dark sites to truly appreciate this gem.

A couple of years ago at the Albury-Wodonga Border Stargaze star party, I had the utmost pleasure of viewing this galaxy through a binoviewer (binoculars made out of telescopes). I sat in that chair for at least ten minutes with the binoculars glued to my face just marvelling at the grandeur of this galaxy. I could clearly see the brightening towards the nucleus.

I'm also certain that I could resolve M32 and M110, Andromeda's companion galaxies, which you can also see in my image. M32 is the bright spot in the galaxy, and, M101 is below it. Carefully viewing the central nucleus through a telescope reveals dust lanes.

The Hubble Space Telescope's images have shown that M31 has a double nucleus, which leads to the idea that this galaxy may have cannibalised another galaxy at some stage of its evolution.

For many years, astronomers thought that the Andromeda Galaxy was a nebula inside our own galaxy. It wasn't until 1923 when the astronomer, Edwin Hubble, showed that it actually lay outside our host galaxy.

M31 is now thought to be about 2.9 million light years away, and is over 150,000 light years across, with a mass 1.2 trillion times that of our own Sun.

When viewing this image, bear in mind that the light that you're seeing shining from this galaxy, travelled nearly 3 million years for my camera to record it.

I hope you enjoy this image as much as I enjoyed processing it.

Target: The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in Andromeda
Date(s): August, and September 2011
Detector: SBIG STL-11000M
Telescope: Takahashi FSQ-106N
Focal length: 530mm
Guiding: Self guiding through SBIG STL-11000M
Exposure: LRGB (210 60 60 60); total: 6.5 hours
Exposure: L bin 1x1, RGB bin 2x2
Software: PinPoint LE: astrometric plate solving; MaxIm DL 5: Calibration, astrometric registration, frame registration, normalisation, and sigma clip stacking; PixInsight: composite registration, dynamic background extraction and background equalisation, colour calibration, non-linear histogram stretching, colour combination, morphological transformation, noise reduction; Adobe Photoshop CS5: post-processing and framing


Edit: stoked at my fourth Daily Deviation. Thank you so much :iconisacgoulart: (^IsacGoulart) for featuring me.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-11-08
my only critique, and its quite anal and small, is that to the left you can just start to see a few large stars (or small galaxies). would be good to widen the picture a few more millimetres just so all significant objects in the picture are present. but as i said thats just being very anal, i cant see anything else wrong.

will be interesting to see what the hydrogen filter will do.
actually apparently i didnt hit the minimum word count above so i must try to find something else to critique :s

maybe try and sharpen up the smaller galaxy to the right or adjust the colours a little so we can see some detail in it.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
33 out of 46 deviants thought this was fair.

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UnseenRealms Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
ASTRONOMY! New watcher attained! 
UnseenRealms Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't understand did you take the pic? 
DarkXYZDrawer98 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
DarkSchneider62 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2015
My favorite galaxy !
AndromedaGalaxyM31 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2015
ninjashinobu8890 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
That's awesome!
Elysium6 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Doodah Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
congratulation :worship:
alellencioniscola Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist
it's great
alomhordozo57 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013
IWantSleep Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
Wow, absolutely incredible.
Stallker2003 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013
Hi ! Realy loved your picture. I am searchig for free texture for making a sky box. I would really be happy if you will agree that ill use your photo. Thanks. If u have bigger size . Ill be happy ).
ericktuck Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Home!!! How I miss her...
ericktuck Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Near the double nucleus, there is a planet with three moons orbiting it... This is home to me...
Lady-Lena-LaFaye Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:faint: This is epic.
wildspark Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2013
A2Matos Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
This lovely work has been featured here:Animals, Plants and Nature Spotlight Vol. 13 [link]
Looking forward to seeing more art from you at #devPREMIUM ! [link]

Puuronen Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
I really adore the hard work that astrophotography takes. This image is jaw-dropping.
GalaxySeerNumber9 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
BEHOLD! where my sci-fi book that I'm typing is set in!
ericktuck Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Would help if you knew more internal intel. of the planets within this galaxy, I am guessing... One I am very familiar with, but that is sensitive information, that I am not about to give out... Beside's, anyone like me, would be viewed as being "mad" or insane for any mention of such experiences... So I guess it better left alone... Good day, sir, and sorry for interruption of your activities...
GalaxySeerNumber9 Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
Oh no its fine~! :D
ericktuck Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well jeesh, just hold a gun to my head for the intel, why don't
GalaxySeerNumber9 Featured By Owner May 26, 2013  Professional General Artist
:XD: lol
colinbm1 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
Very impressive :D
Unfortunately the link out didn't work :-(
MediocreSon Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
jblaschke Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Very nice. You've done a good job of pulling detail out of the dust lanes. A replacement mirror for my old Meade 645 should arrive by next week, and then I'll give M31 a shot myself. Jealous of you guys with the nice Takahashi rigs!
sindos Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I swear I see it move and float off the background stars. Wonderful sight, thank you good sir :clap:
jefz Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
wow! That is a great image!!!!!!!!!!
GekkouKitsune Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
Shadobian11 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Dear God, I was terribly lost
When the galaxies crossed
And the sun went dark.
But dear God, You're the only North Star
I would follow this far.
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
The Glory, it is Epic. ;)
Thank you for bringing us a glimpse of celestial majesty.
Komikino Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How do you keep it locked onto the galaxy since the Earth is rotating and the night sky is moving?
Emiko-CatOnFire Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I love this so much. It's almost 3D-looking.
s0larclaw812 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
The cannibal galaxy....awesome xD
Kyoshyu Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Professional quality work, there. One of the largest and closest galaxy to ours, and it is magnificent!
XEPICTACOSx Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Just WOW! This piece is amazing! The minimalism in capturing just the one galaxy with a few nearby is spectacular!
chillypaz Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
Amazing! I've always wanted to see a picture of a galaxy in this site! :D
HalloranIllustration Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Amazing photo. I have always been a fan of that particular galaxy as well as our own Milky Way. Within 5 billion years time the two will merge to form an even bigger galaxy as the Super Massive Black Holes also merge to become even more massive.
Almighty-Sheep Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
chibi-demon-angel694 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amazing! :wow: :faint:
ToryWright Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
May I use this as my desktop background?
FuzzyAcornIndustries Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
I think what makes this so incredibly amazing is that this is the real deal, not some PS photomanipulation.

I can't fathom the difficulty or cost for equipment to take such a photo.
Art-of-KBMiller Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Student Filmographer
That is amazing :D I named one of my prized possesions after Andromeda. Beautiful name for a beautiful galaxy!
Lucyjain Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
Just beautiful.
WingDiamond Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Just think, in that galaxy there is right now is a planet like ours and someone is looking up at OUR galaxy and is seeing it as it was 2 1/2 Million years ago. We will never know about this said planet.
t3h-puppeteer Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Amazing shot! :wow:

Makes me wish I pursued my interest in astromoney more! I still have interest in it but it's more of a hobby for me.
Titanium-Zen Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Truly amazing!
Rekalnus Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well done.

Andromeda is a favorite of Messiers' catalog for me. Even 10x binoculars show it very well if the location is dark.

With smaller scope and sophisticated processing, This view equals those old Hansen Planetarium posters, made from negatives captured using 24" and 48" mirror Schmidt cameras.

Congrats on this DD
RKMStudios Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
What is the largest resolution you have of this? Curious to the sensor(s) you were working with.

Truly amazing!
WindsweptSpirit Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
6.5 hour exposure. That's This picture looks like the type of photo one would find in textbooks or books about the night sky. I love astronomy, but I rarely get to see the stars because I live next to a busy highway, and most of them are blocked out. I didn't even know that one could get photos like this from the ground. I always assumed that photos like these were only possible if taken by something like Hubble. It's why I was so amazed to see that this was a photograph as opposed to like, a digital art piece or photomanipulation or something along those lines.

Stunning. Just...amazing.
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Submitted on
September 8, 2011
Image Size
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