Messier 31 (M 31) - Andromeda Galaxy

Introduction | Map | Sketch | My Own Observations | My Own Photos | References

On this page I collect my observations of the Andromeda galaxy M 31 in the constellation Andromeda.



The Andromeda galaxy M 31 in constellation Andromeda (but it rather is located between the constellation of Andromeda and Cassiopeia), is our neighboring galaxy and about 2.5 million light years away from us. Because it can be seen with the naked eye under good conditions (in which I have never succeeded yet), it is the most remote sky object that we can see with the naked eye. It can be seen in binoculars and in small telescopes as a diffuse shimmering elongated oval - and I have not been able to detect any details yet, although one should actually recognize the two small galaxies M 32 (like a star) and M 110 in a small telescope. In other words, light pollution is quite high in Mühlhausen / Kraichgau. Having a good night sky in France (September 2017), I was able so see a brighter core in binoculars (Trinovid).

With the Atik Infinity camera, however, I was able to see the galaxy M 32 in January 2018 for the first time ever!

February 2017

After I had searched on the balcony for Praesepe with the binoculars on the second day, I just looked into the other direction, that is, to the west, to see whether I would not "stumble" over the Andromeda Galaxy M 31. I know more or less where it is in the sky, and in February, where the Andromeda is oriented vertically, the galaxy should be particularly easy to find (with binoculars because of the large section of the sky that they show...). And so it was! Since it was still quite bright in the west, the impression that the galaxy made in the binoculars was not overwhelming, but the galaxy was recognizable without any doubts. With the GSD 680 (8 "Dobsonian) on the terrace, I was unfortunately not able to find the galaxy (with the binoculars I was able to find it from there, too...). I had trouble to orient myself with the LED finder in this sky region, because the weak stars in the respective region were hardly or not at all visible in the finder.

On the third day, when I used the Heritage 100P on the GoTo mount, I found M 31, of course, but the galaxy was only faint; the same applied to my binoculars. Obviously, the sky in the west was still too bright... On February 18, I looked for M 31 using the GSD 680 for a second time, found it this time, and was able to see the galaxy well, but not in detail. The same applies more or less to the Heritage P130 on the GoTo mount (February, 26, new moon).

Size: 3° x 1° (Stoyan)
Distance: 2.5 million light years
Rating: ***** (Stoyan)



M 31 between Andromeda and Cassiopeia

Overview map: Andromeda Galaxy M 31 and Perseus Double Cluster NGC 884/869



The sketch by Michael Vlasov ( provides a rough impression of what I observed (my impression was much fainter than the sketch):

Sketch of the Andromeda Galaxy by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016) - presented with the author's permission


My Own Observations

Observations Summer to Autumn 2016

Observations February/March 2017

Observations September 2017

Observations October/November 2017

Observations January-February 2018


My Own Photos

Atik Infinity & Skymax-127 (January 14, 2018)


M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), unprocessed


M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), post-processed


M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), from recording, processed


M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), from recording, processed, darker variant


This more "aggressive" variant was started with auto-contrast and then changed slightly in the darks to make the background darker. As a result, the core is more washed out, but the fine structures are better to recognize, if one looks at the large version.

I found a similar version on astrojedi's blog, so I tried again and processed more "aggresively" to get closer to its result.

M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), from recording, processed, more "aggressive" variant


M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), from further recording, processed


M 31 and M 32 (top left, Andromeda), from yet another recording, processed

Note that these photos show the complete image and that the large versions are in original size. This is due to the fact that the sky objects are extended - even beyond the field of view.




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