This is the object I look for in the sky to visually measure how much light pollution is spoiling my views. At truly dark site you can make this galaxy out with your naked eyes. This photograph was my first attempt at stitching together individual frames to span a larger field of view. It was worth the effort. I particularly like the butter colored core of this galaxy with its dense collection of older and cooler stars. Surrounding this are exquisite dust lanes and a blue halo of hot bright young stars. I'd love to live a few billion years just to see this vista take over our night sky!
Photons captured in Simpson, North Carolina, in October 2014.
The image is 4 stitched panels collected over a total of 8.8 hours exposure time
This large spiral galaxy, also known as M31, is located 2.5 million light years away and is 220,000 light years in diameter. Its apparent size from Earth is roughly the diameter of 6 full moons. This galaxy looks bigger every year, as it is on a collision course with our galaxy. Collision is expected in about 4 billion years. The image also
shows two dwarf galaxies: M101 & M32.