Focal Pointe Observatory
Astrophotography by Bob Franke

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M31 The Andromeda Galaxy


2014 reprocess
Click the image for a larger 3/4 size view. (2250 x 1500 1.35 MB)

2011 reprocess


Takahashi FSQ-106ED @ f/5.0 (530 mm F.L.) 3.5 arcsec/pixel.  Shown at  4.67 and 18.70 arcsec/pixel.


Paramount ME


SBIG STL-11000 w/ internal filter wheel, AstroDon Gen I Filters

Acquisition Data

10/2/2008 to 10/8/2008  Chino Valley... with CCDAutoPilot3


Lum    300 min.  (30 x 10 min. bin 1x1)
RGB    270 min.  ( 9  x 10 min. bin 1x1) each

Software & Processing

CCDSoft, CCDStack, PixInsight, Photoshop CS3, Noel Carboni's actions.

eXcalibrator for (b-v), (v-r) color calibration, using 62 stars from the NOMAD1 database.

PixFix32 (pre-beta) to repair column defects.

CCDStack to calibrate, register, normalize, data reject and  combine the sub exposures.

PixInsight for the LRGB combine, non-linear stretching, gradient removal & background neutralization.

The upper image includes selective use of PixInsight's HDRMultiscaleTrans process to enhance the detail in the center of the galaxy.

PhotoShop for final tweaks.


North is to the right.

The Andromeda Galaxy, also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224 is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. It is the nearest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way.  M31 is visible as a faint smudge on a moonless night, and is one of the farthest objects visible to the naked eye. M31 can be seen with binoculars in urban areas. Andromeda is also the largest galaxy in our Local Group.

To the lower right is the small elliptical satellite galaxy M110. At the left of M31's core is another satellite galaxy, M32.

M31 and the Milky Way are orbiting around each other and astronomers are pretty much convinced a collision is inevitable. Current estimates indicate this will occur in about 3 billion years. To call it a collision is somewhat an exaggeration. Very few solid bodies will actually hit each other. Our Sun and solar system are expected to survive the collision and merger.