Andromeda, Our Closest Spiral Neighbor Galaxy

On August 15th and 16th, I went out to test out a guidescope and reshoot some of the objects I have photographed in the last few weeks. I was out for a couple hours and was about to pack up my telescope and bring it inside when something told me to slew to M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, to see if it was visible from my backyard. After dialing in the coordinates, I patiently waited for the gears on the mount to come to a grinding halt. After pressing my remote shutter release for a 4 minute exposure on my DSLR, Andromeda revealed itself!

Andromeda Galaxy: August 16, 2012; 90 sec exposure; Nikon D7000; Tak Sky 90II

Andromeda Galaxy: August 16, 2012; 90 sec exposure; Nikon D7000; Tak Sky 90II

At a mind boggling distance of 2.3 million light-years, the Andromeda galaxy (also called M31) is the closest and brightest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way, but not the closest galaxy! The Milky Way is also a spiral galaxy which, spiral being the operative word, makes Andromeda the closest mirror of ourselves. The Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, which is about 42,000 light years from the galactic center of our Milky Way, and a mere 25,000 light years from us (read more here: Universe Today), takes the award for being the closet galaxy!

As I was looking through my photos, I noticed an long white streak running through one of my images.  Upon further investigation, this appears to be a Satellite that just happened to cross the field of the view of the telescope.

Andromeda Galaxy: August 16, 2012; 90 sec exposure; Nikon D7000; Tak Sky 90II

Andromeda Galaxy: August 16, 2012; 90 sec exposure; Nikon D7000; Tak Sky 90II

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