Astrophotography - mk3
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M31 is a member of our local group of galaxies and is the closest large galaxy to the Milky Way at a distance of about 2.5 million light years. It is estimated to be twice the size of our galaxy and to contain over 1 trillion stars. This image also contains two of Andromeda's companion galaxies M32 and M110. This galaxy is moving toward us at about 186 miles per second. At its center is a halo of superheated gas and material that surrounds a super massive black hole.

Even though this is a very large object in the sky - over three times the angular dimension of the full moon - it exhibits low surface brightness and requires a lot of exposure to reveal the detail within the dust lanes and spiral arms. Taken early fall 2009.

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Field center: RA: 00:42:46.518, DEC: +41 degrees 15' 28.541"
Field size: 2.73 x 1.82 degrees
Camera: Modified Canon 300D DSLR @ 800 ISO
Total Time: 9 hours and 13 minutes
Filter: None
Lens: 80mm Apo
F/stop: 6.1