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Entire DOCdb database of 18,816 objects.



NGC 224 (462 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Andromeda Galaxy

NGC 224, LEDA 2557, MCG+07-02-016, UGC 454, Andromeda A, Messier 31, Andromeda Galaxy, h 50, GC 116

RA: 00h 42m 44.31s
Dec: +41° 16′ 9.4″

Con: Andromeda
Ch: MSA:105, U2:60, SA:4


(reference key)

Type: galaxy (AGN LINER-type), Sb

Mag: B=4.3, V=?

Size: 186.2′ x 61.65′
PA: 35°

Image gallery

Sketches  (2)

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Photos  (5)

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Historical observations

William Herschel

William Herschel observed it in 1784 with his newly completed 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He wrote of the object "in the girdle of Andromeda, which is undoubtedly the nearest of all the great nebulae; its extent is above a degree and a half in length, and, in even one of the narrowest places, not less than 16' in breadth. The brightest part of it approaches to the resolvable nebulosity, and begins to shew a faint red colour; which, from many observations on the colour and magnitude of nebulae, I believe to be an indication that its distance in this coloured part does not exceed 2000 times the distance of Sirius. There is a very considerably, broad, pretty faint, small nebula near it; my Sister discovered it August 27, 1783, with a Newtonian 2-feet sweeper. It shews the same faint colour with the great one, and is, no doubt, in the neighbourhood of it." In the Philosophical Transactions, 1814, Herschel described it as: "a large nucleus with very extensive nebulous branches, but the nucleus is very gradually joined to them. The stars which are scattered over it appear to be behind it, and seem to lose part of their luster in the passage of their light though the nebulosity; there are not more of them scattered over the nebula than there are over the immediate neighbourhood. I examined it in the meridian with a mirror 24 inches in diameter, and saw it in high perfection; but uts nature remains mysterious. It slight, instead of appearing resolvable with this aperture, seemed to be more milky."

Webb, T.W. (1893)

In the 5th edition of Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes it is described as "one of the grandest in the heavens; long, oval, or irregularly triangular, ill-bounded and brightening to the centre; so plain to the naked eye that it is strange that the ancients scarcely mention it. . . . By moving the telescope rapidly to gain contrast, Bond extended it to the surprising dimensions of four degrees in length and 2.5 degrees in breadth, of which common instruments show little, and less in proportion to the increase of power. No telesope has been able to deal with its nature; Bond's 15-inch found no resolution, though it was seen though a rich stratum containing 1500 stars. It detected, however, two curious dark streaks, like narrow clefts, both beyond any ordinary instruments, in which the darker of them forms in reality the boundary of one side of the nebula as seen with a small aperture: both well seen by Se. with 9.9-inch; I have caught one with difficulty with 5.5-inch. Grover has seen both with 6.5-inch silvered mirror, and I have traced them though a long extent with an 8-inch mirror, but this was after the knowledge of the fact, which has a great influence upon the eye; the truth of H's remark being often exemplified, that less optical power will show an object than was required for its discovery."

Published comments

Allen, R.H

According to R H Allen, the Great Andromeda Spiral was known as far back as 905 AD, and was mentioned by the Persian astronomer Al Sufi, who called it the "Little Cloud". Yet it was overlooked by the best observer of pre-telescopic times, Tycho Brahe. To the naked eye observer, it appears as a small elongated patch of fuzzy light, and a binocular observer can be rewarded on a clear, dark night when the galaxy can be traced out to over 4 degrees. The first telescopic observer was Simon Marius, who saw it 1611 or 1612, likening it to "the light of a candle shining through horn."

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"!!! nebula, spiral, elongated at 40, 40'x15'."

Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Remarks, p.216: "The Great Nebula in Andromeda. On photographs having long exposures, especially those made with powerful reflectors, this object is seen to extend to three times the dimensions given in the catalogue, which are derived from a Bruce plate having an exposure of only one hour. It appears to be a gigantic spiral, having a condensed nucleus. A faint nebula north proceeding, NGC 205, which was discovered by Caroline Herschel, does not show on the Harvard Map, and has not been included in the catalgoue."

Ball, Robert (1910)

In "The Story of the Heavens" (1910), notes: "Two dark channels in the nebula cannot fail to be noticed, and the number of faint stars scattered over its surface is also a point to which attention may be drawn." Even today's largest telescopes reveal nothing more than an elongated foggy patch, gradually brightening towards the centre, forming a nearly star-like nucleus. The nucleus has an apparent size of 2.5 by 1.5 arc seconds. Sanford notes that the galaxy measures 178' x 63' and shines at magnitude 3.4. Burnham notes that in a good 8-inch, the prominent dark lane on the North West edge of the central hub, and the bright star-cloud, NGC 206, near the southern tip may be glimpsed on a clear, dark night. This galaxy has been found to be surrounded by some 150 globular clusters, and both planetary nebulae and bright emission regions have also been identified. Also attending this spiral are four dwarf elliptical satellite galaxies, NGC 221 (M32), NGC 205, NGC 185 and NGC 147. Two supernovae erupted in this galaxy; 1885 (5.4v), 1898 (10.0v)

Doig, P. (1925)

Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part I. M.N.R.A.S., 35(5), 159.

Mayall, N.U. & Eggen, O.J. (1953)

Mayall, N.U. & Eggen, O.J. (1953) Four nebulous objects in the outer parts of the Andromeda Nebula. PASP, 65, No.382, February, 24.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 4.5 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads M31.

Sandage, A. (1961) The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies

This galaxy appears on page 18 of "The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies" by Allan Sandage (1961, Washington, DC).

Schmidt, K.-H. et al. (1993)

Schmidt K.-H., Priebe A. & Boller T. (1993) Nearby galaxies. Revised machine-readable version of the catalogue. Astron. Nachr., 314, 371. [1993AN....314..371S]

Other names: "U454,M31". Inclination: (face-on, in degrees) 77 Total photoelectric blue mag 4.36 Total colour index .92 Logarithm of the angular diameter D25 (arcminutes) 3.28 Blue photographic magnitude 3.95 This galaxy is included in a sample of galaxies with velocity less than 500km/s with respect to the centroid of the Local Group. [Nearby Galaxies. Schmidt K.-H., Priebe A., Boller T. (Astron. Nachr. 314, 371 (1993))]

Modern observations

Ware, Donald J

"The Great Galaxy in Andromeda and its companions. M-31 is the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way galaxy, and therefore presents us with a wealth of details. Numerous dust lanes are evident, and large telescopes can even identify individual members of its system of globular clusters. I find the best view of this galaxy trio to be through large binoculars. At this magnification, the complete extent of the main galaxy can be seen, and the fuzz, star-like M-32 and the elliptical M- 110 can be glimpsed quite easily in the same field of view."

Bondono, Jeff (1995)

Subject: The Russian Doll globular of M31 (aka G1) " Monday night I went out observing with my 14.5" dob in the country. I had a great night with lots of interesting objects, and thought you might be interested in a globular of M31 named G1 because it is featured in the latest issue of Sky and Telescope (Nov 95, p68-69). This globular appeared as a fuzzy star at only 68x!! But read on. Its forms the 30-degree vertex of an iscoseles triangle with 2 11th magnitude stars, about 2' north-northeast. One of those 11th magnitude stars is an easy double at 131x. At 262x, the globular shows as three brightenings that come and go with the seeing. 478x finally cleanly reveals this blob to be again a set of 2 stars and the globular. The globular is at the 90-degree vertex of a right-triangle, with a 14th magnitude star northwest and another southwest. The globular is distinctly nonstellar finally at this power. Needless to say, I didn't resolve the globular into its own member stars. From memory, both the globular and the inner-more stars were about 14th magnitude. The nesting of this globular within a triangle thats within a triangle leads to my proposed name of "the Russian Doll globular". It seems a coincedance of nature that this distant globular, which is far too small to appear nonstellar at low power, has stars in the line of sight which make it quite suspect at lower powers. A cosmic "I am here" signpost. [Jeff Bondono home at coordinates -8308,4230 jbondono@ic.net Detroit, Michigan, USA observing from -8302,4303 http://ic.net/~jbondono]

Martin, N.J. (IAAC)

Supergiant stars in M31 Observer:N.J.Martin Your skill:intermediate Date and UT of observation:October 28/29 1997 01UT Location & latitude:near Ayr South West Scotland lat 55 24'56" Site classification:bright rural Limiting magnitude (visual):6 (zenith) Seeing (1 to 5 - best to worst):4.9-5 Moon up (phase?):no Instrument:20" f4.4 Dobsonian, 8" f8 Newtonian Magnification:X150 Filters used:None Object:M31 Category:Galaxy Object data:mag3.35 177.8' X 63.1' RA/DE: RA 00 42' Dec +41 16'(2000 coordinates) "Description:There are three relatively bright and easy to find supergiant stars in M31. They are described in David J. Eicher's book of extracts from Deep Sky magazine entitled 'Galaxies and the Universe' were three supergiant stars labelled A (13 mag),B (12.1)and C(12) in the annotated photograph on p.56. Slighly difficult to describe their location but they lie on the central axis just to the north (opposite end to M32) of the bright part of the galaxy as a part of a triangular group of five brighter stars. C is left (east) furthest out corner and A and B form a pair close to the right (west) outer corner of the triangle. There is a brighter pair of stars to the right of the triangle. The stars themselves look quite undistinguished but they provide a rare chance for observers in the northern hemisphere to see stars in another galaxy. I did not observe the two other twelth magnitude stars, D(12.2) and E(12.7)on the M32 side of the nucleus, almost exactly opposite A,B and C. D lies at the end of a line of stars coming inwards from M32 and E is just to the right of it, with the 14.7 magnitude 29a close to D. [ nmartin@bonnyton.u-net.com ]"

Walter Scott Houston

writes: "Recently I received a letter from Paul Martsching of Iowa who saw 4 with 8x50 binoculars and 4.5 with 20x80's..."

Hartung, E.J. (1968) Astron.Obj.South.Tel

Notes: "30cm shows me an extended elliptical haze in pa 40 degrees, very bright in the central region, with a dark rift near the north-preceding edge and extending north of the centre."

Harrington, Phil

(1990, Touring the Universe through Binoculars) writes "using binoculars under moderately dark skies, an observer may trace the glow of M31 for about 3 degrees. A pronounced central nucleus highlight the galactic halo. Sharp-eyed observers peering through large glasses might even be able to spot one of two dark dust lanes that encircle the outer rim of M31."

Bortle, John (1976)

Bortle (Webb Society Quarterly Journal, January 1976) using 10x50 binoculars, estimates the visual magnitude as 4.5.

Clark, R.N. (1990)

See also "Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky" by Roger N. Clark (1990, Sky Publishing Corporation) page 68.

Raasch, Rick (1993)

writes in "The Focal Point", Volume 6, No. 2 (1993) "M31, M32, M110 The Great Galaxy in Andromeda and its companions. M31 is the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way galaxy, and therefore presents us with a wealth of details. Numerous dust lanes are evident, and large telescopes can even identify individual members of its system of globular clusters. I find the best view of this galaxy trio to be through large binoculars. At this magnification, the complete extent of the main galaxy can be seen, and the fuzz, star-like M32 and the elliptical M110 can be glimpsed quite easily in the same field of view."

Gramer, Lew (IAAC)

Observer: Lew Gramer Your skills: Intermediate Date and UT of Observation: 1997-07-4/5, 04:55 UT Location: Savoy, MA, USA (42N, elev 700m) Site classification: rural Limiting magnitude: 7.2 (zenith) Seeing: 5 of 10 - mediocre, intermittent cumulus Moon up: no Instrument: 5" f/5 Jaegers refractor on altaz mount Magnification: 25x Filters used: None Object: M 31, M 32, M 110, ngc 206 (Great Andromeda Galaxy + hangers-on) Category: Spiral, Elliptical, Lenticular galaxies, and Star Cloud Constellation: And Data: mags 3.4,8.1,8.1,vFT sizes 190'x60',9'x6',22'x11',4'x2' RA/DE: 00h41m +40o44m

Description: "Even though not all of M31's spindly length fits in a single 25x 2o field of view, its bright inner core, brightest little star cloud, and the two nearest companions (M32 and M110, the famous ones) all fit together very nicely! In these conditions, M110 is actually much the more prominent of the two companions, as it is long and bright and spindly itself, and grows slightly brighter toward its central "core". M32 on the other hand, appears at this power as a tiny, bright, concentrated haze, much more like a small globular cluster than a galaxy! It does however serve as a bright jewel set amid the fainter halo of the mother system. Star-cloud n206 stands out well in its spot SW of the mottled core of giant M31, appearing as a strong brightening amid the roiling clouds of pearly light. Mama galaxy M31 was actually somewhat disappointing in this view, maybe due to its altitude and thin clouds. Both the inner and outer main dust lanes were visible NW of the brightest area of the core, as well as some non-descript mottling NE. WOW!"

Tom Lorenzin

Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes "3.4M!; 3 degree x 1 degree extent; huge ellipse with much detail and bright, stellar nucleus; axis oriented NE-SW; includes faint, small N206 star cloud 40' SW of core; dark lanes visible using wide field and P-filter; a great binocular object; visible with naked eye; good supernova prospect; photo @ HAG-18"

Gross, Todd (IAAC)

IAAC Observer: Todd Gross Your skill: Intermediate Date and UT of observation: 09/05/97 0743GMT Location & latitude: 22 miles west of Boston, Ma. 42.3N Site classification: Suburban Limiting magnitude (visual): 5.3 (estimated) 5.3 (est) in vicinity of object Seeing (1 to 10 - worst-best): 4 Moon up (phase?): No Instrument: 16" Newtonian-dob w. 96/99% coatings Magnifications: 98x (19mm Panoptic) Filters used: none Object: M31 Constellation: Object data: Spiral Galaxy

"Incredible! Much better view than at times of higher light pollution. Although the entire galaxy would not fit into the eyepiece at all, (only 25%) I could pan along the central section of the elongated glow, with it's very large, bright central core radiating. The glow took up most of the eyepiece view north-south, and all of it (obviously, e-w) The galaxy was sprinkled with a large number of stars inside, and outside. Two dark lanes on the north side of the galaxy were nearly ruler straight, and took up my entire field of view in the eyepiece (41 arc minutes) & beyond. The darker of the two lanes was pretty close to the galactic core, the second dark lane, was easily seen with direct vision..also looked like it was etched with a ruler and pencil, but not quite as promient. One of the few times this galaxy began to approach it's photographic presentation, (when shot with short exposure time). M32 and M110 hung bright and beautiful to the south, and to the north of the core respectively. This object deserves much more scrutiny than what I was able to give it.. but unlike times when the light pollution brought the l.m. to under 5, these conditions really showed off the dark lanes, which I wanted to report."


Some might remember my posting, and others, on "The M31 Challenge" published in S&T's November 1997 issue. I received a corrected e-mail address for the author, Larry Mitchell, from an s.a.a. reader, and was able to e-mail Larry and heard back from him early last week. He shared a list of resources with me that he had used in the preparation of the article, and gave me his blessing to post the bibliography here. So here it is:

"Atlas of Andromeda Galaxy" by Paul Hodge

Arp & Baade, 1964, AP.J. 139, 1027; Van Den Bergh, 1969, AP. J., 171, 145; Rubin & Ford, 1970, AP. J. 159, 379; Ford & Jacoby, 1978, AP.J. 219, 437; Ford & Jacoby, 1978, AP.J. Suppl, 38, 351; Pellet, Astier Viale Courtes et al, Astron. Astrophys. Suppl, 31, 439; Hodge, 1979, A.J> 84, 744; Hodge & Kennicutt, 1982, A.J. 87, 264; Crampton Cowley, Schade, & Chayer, 1985, AP.J. 288, 494; Jacpby & Ford, 1986, AP.J. 304, 490; Elson & Walterbos, 1988, AP.J. 333, 594; Tripicco, 1989, A.J. 97, 735; Davidge, Alloin, & Jablonka, 1990, AP.J. 358, L1; Walterbos & Braun, 1992, Astron. Astrophys. Suppl, 92, 625.

He added that the Ford & Jacoby materials were about planetary nebulae in M31, and that he is working to identify some. It does not sound easy, though, and he is interested in hearing of anyone who manages the task, and their observing techniques.

Gramer, Lew (IAAC)

Observer: Lew Gramer; Your skills: Intermediate; Date and UT of Observation: 1997-11-29/30, 02:40 UT; Location: Miles Standish State Forest, Carver, MA, USA (41N); Site classification: rural; Limiting magnitude: 6.6 (zenith), 6.1 (in SE); Seeing: 2 of 10 - excellent; Moon up: no; Instrument: 8" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain on fork equatorial, 8x50mm finder; Magnification: 80x, 170x; Filters used: None; Object: M 110 (companion to M 31); Category: Elliptical galaxy [E5P]; Constellation: And; Data: mag 8.07 size 22'x11'; RA/DE: 00h40m +41o41m; Description:

A lovely, elongated thread-spindle of bright gauze met me through the 80x eyepiece tonight, after I centered my finder on the faint averted-vision haze NW of the core of huge M31. Probably the most fascinating thing about this bright little companion in even this "everyday" aperture, is its remarkable resemblance to a binocular or finder view of its mighty parent, the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Like M31, it has a strikingly oblong halo (N-S for M110), which in turn envelopes an "off-axis" elongated halo (NW-SE for M110). And like M31, the interface between the very bright core and the only somewhat fainter halo shows some very intriguing complexities: in the case of M31 of course, these are the split-off points of its vast spiral arms, replete with dust lanes and mingled HII regions. In the case of M110, it is not at all clear what these very real mottlings correspond to! At any rate, they are much subtler than in the parent. Finally, to averted vision, the S portion of M110's halo shows the slightest hint of bending toward M31 below it. This was best seen at higher power, by moving M31 completely out of the field. Knowing that the "P" in M110's morphology referred to this evidence of gravitational interaction, I intentionally looked for this "S" sweep in its halo: sure enough, it was visible tonight!

Maloney, Patrick (IAAC)

Observer: Patrick Maloney; Your skills: Advanced (many years); Date/time of observation: 02/Aug/1998 1040UT; Location of site: Palisades-Dows Observatory, Nr Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Lat , Elev ); Site classification: Rural; Sky darkness: 6.0 Limiting magnitude; Seeing: 7 1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best); Moon presence: None - moon not in sky; Instrument: 10" Starsplitter Newtonian; Magnification: x218; Filter(s): ; Object(s): G1 / Mayall II; Category: Globular cluster.

Description: A globular cluster belonging to M31. Faint, stellar, but visible to direct vision.

[amastro] Barnard's nebula in M31

I would much appreciate receiving observations (or even sketches) of Barnard's nebula in M31, better known as A 54 (see Luginbuhl & Skiff's 'Observing Handbook'). It seems that this object narrowly missed its chance to enter the New General Catalog (NGC).

The discovery report by E. E. Barnard appeared in Astronomische Nachrichten 113(2690):31, 1886:

'I have for some time suspected a faint Nebula near the f. end of the Great Nebula of Andromeda. Last night being fine I verified its existence. It is a North 17'.1 of and follows by 29s a 9m star which I take to be W20h952. Hence its place is alpha = 0h 38m 15s, delta = +41o 13'.6 (1885.0). This object though extremely faint, flushes out quite distinctly by averted vision. It is close f. to the s. a small and is just free of the n.f. end of the Great Nebula. I find no record of this. It lies about as far from the new star [SN 1885] as the Nebula [NGC 206] in the p. end of Great Nebula does.

Vanderbilt Univ. Obs., Nashville, Tenn., 9. Oct 1885'

The telescope used is not specified but I believe Barnard used a 5 or 6 inch scope. The position precessed to J2000.0 is 0h 44m 32.9m, +41o 51' 23.7''. Brian Skiff, who identified this nebula with A54 a few year ago, wondered why the nebula didn't appear in NGC (published in 1888). I don't know the answer, but it's interesting to note that Barnard also announced his finding of a nebula in the PRECEDING end of M31 in a note published in Sidereal Messenger 4:247, 1885, and it was not until October 1885 when he recognized it's nothing but NGC 206 (see also 'The Immortal Fire Within' by William Sheehan, p.101). By the way, does someone know Sheehan's email?

Clear skies, Leo

[amastro] Blue supergiant stars in M31

Alan Goldstein wrote:

]I have also plotted several of the brightest blue luminous variable stars in

]M31 that I want to look for this fall. They are in the 15 - 16th mag. range.

]Anyone observed them?

Yes, on a very memorable night, September 14, 1999. At 10 UT that night the combination of excellent seeing and transparency allowed me to glimpse blue supergiant stars in the O-B association NGC 206 in the Andromeda Galaxy with my 16-inch f/4.5 Meade Newtonian at 261x. I had been waiting for the perfect night to try for these massive young stars with an intrinsic luminosity of about 250,000 times that of the sun! The previous afternoon the charts showed that a major upper ridgeline was forecast to pass over the Southern Interior of British Columbia at 12 UT. This meant that very good seeing was likely. In fact, it turned out to be excellent. In preparation for the hunt, I had uncovered my mirror in the early evening and by 10 UT it had been cooling for eight hours. The transparency was also excellent -- for the third night in a row M33 was a naked-eye object in my backyard. Lastly, M31 was in the zenith. Within M31, the star cloud NGC 206 was overlain with the four or five brighter Milky Way stars that are normally seen. But behind them were perhaps eight stars flickering in and out of visibility at the limit of vision. I carefully checked four areas immediately surrounding NGC 206 of the same size, but did not see any stars at the edge of vision in those areas. So I am confident that the majority of the glimmerings that I saw were indeed some of the about 70 blue supergiants that are so prominent in NGC 206 in the colour photograph of the galaxy taken by the Palomar 48-inch Schmidt camera. While there are other O-B associations in M31, nowhere else on photographs of the galaxy is there such a marked concentration of blue supergiants. A careful examination of the Palomar photograph afterwards showed eight blue stars that were definitely brighter than the many other blue supergiants in the star cloud, matching my observation. So the brightest stars in the Andromeda Galaxy are within the grasp of a 16-inch telescope on a perfect night.

On that night of exceptional seeing noteworthy features on Jupiter at 348x and 522x included: a large vaguely kidney-shaped darker area in the North Polar Region; a chaotic jumble of red-brown and white areas within the mostly doubled North Equatorial Belt (NEB), many darker patches, with an especially dark elongated (east - west) patch on the preceeding end of the NEBn; an unusually large grey festoon on the following side extending from the NEBs into the Equatorial Zone; the prominent Equatorial Band; and the South South Temperate Belt (SSTB) which was far wider and darker than the faded, thin South Temperate Belt -- very unusual. There was a wide white zone between the SSTB and the South Polar Region -- I don't recall ever before seeing such a wide zone at that latitude. Even the SPR exhibited a darker contrast feature. The four moons could be distinguished by the diameters of their disks alone, easily graded by size.


You mentioned the Twin Lakes Star Party. I had a great time there in October, 1998. The funny thing was though, all the guys from Kentucky and Tennessee were aimed high all four nights, looking at Cygnus and such. I hadn't come south to observe in the zenith and I seemed to be the only person on the whole observing field interested in the south horizon, so I mostly just used the little 4.1-inch Astroscan that I'd brought across the continent with me. It showed me a slew of globulars and galaxies that were new to me. The highlight was probably the splinter of NGC 55.

Best,Alan Whitman


Great Job, Alan!

I tried to resolve the stars two years ago with my 20incher under 6,5mag skies- no success :-< I used high magnifications up to 640x. I only saw several foreground stars but the starcloud always appears as a bright mottled patch with conspicuous structures in the western part next to a darklane of M 31.

A bright star (~16,5mag) in M 31 is AF And. This is a LBV in the southern part of M 31. This star is visible in 13incher.

I hope for better nights this fall...


[amastro] M31

Has anyone noticed the elongated nucleus in M31, if so what aperture and magnification? Also, has anyone noticed color (i.e. yellow) in the central hub of M31?

Alan Goldstein


Alan, I have seen yellow to gold color in the nucleur region of M31 a number of times in 20" f/4. I can not recall the magnification but more than likely under 100 power. I have not seen the "X" yet. (Re HST observations) :)

Barbara Wilson; bwilson2@ix.netcom.com; http://www.hmns.org/hmns/george/globular.html;


Re: the core of M31. Two years ago at the Nebraska Star Party using Tom Miller's 30 inch Obsession, I noted a very weak orangish hue to much of the central nuclear region, although little color was visible anywhere else. The amount of detail around the core was rather startling, not to mention the irregular patchy edges of the arm next to the western dark lane. Clear skies to you. --

David Knisely KA0CZC@navix.net



Chris Schur has been trying a new astrophotographic technique in which he blends many exposures of different durations. His first attempt was with M31, in which he acheived a reasonably visual appearance. It shows the yellow core, which appears round in his image. It's at: http://www.psiaz.com/schur/astro/nov99.html


Brian Skiff

Brian Skiff:

6cm - doesn't look like much in the telescope. I could not see any spirality.

sketch in logbook. BS, 13Sep1969, FtL.

- vbig and br in dk sky, vwell concen. elong NE-SW with NW flank more; abrupt. reaches 1.5x across 32mm fl eyepiece fld [thus ~135' long, BS.].; lg, losfcbr halo has broad coarse irreg????? CBL, Slate Mtn.

- well & smoothly concen core. halo extends across 88' fld and shows lg; mottlings. pa45 w/core progressively more eccentric as it gets brtr, nuc; off-center to NW. NW side of core much more abrupt than SE, motion of fld; showing this better. *s embedded, one SSW off edge of core. CBL, Roof.

7cm - wow! 30x shows maj axis to 4deg x 50', as sketched in U2000. vlong &; thin. halo has wk even concen. core length about same as sep of M32 and; m7 * S of it. nuc about same size as M32. [incomplete: clouds after]. ; BS, 21Nov1992, Anderson Mesa.

- 75x: core has strong even concen to nuc, which itself has inconsp sub*ar; center. fade-out sudden on NW side, sl brtning before final fade 2/3; radius to M110. halo width on SE only a little farther than M32's ; distance ouyt minor axis. N206 not evident. BS, 25Nov1922, Anderson Mesa.

15cm - 60'x10' and vbr. core 3'.5 across fading to indef edges. *s embedded in; neb. HM/BS, 26Jun1971, FtL.

- in dk locale size dbls with pronounced central core 10' across. BS, Slate Mtn.

25cm - seen at 47x as 2 deg long and 40' wide in pa40. core 7' wide and of indef; length. nuc circ 1'.5-2' across. occas sharp spot in center w/ a number; of f *s around it. BS.

- [general remarks extracted from gc survey] when br * NE and * nrby SE of; C311-C313 are centered in 28' fld, gradient of brtness btwn sky and disk; vstrong, perhaps most consp here compared to anywhere along the rim of; the gx. gx arms here have smooth texture. on W side of two brtr *s to NE; of G229 is spike of dkr material intruding twd nuc. in general both dk; lanes W of core are vis. narrow inner lane seems most contrasty as it; passes center. outer dk lane not vis near G78/A67, but inner lane is clr; going past the two brtr *S nr the maj axis. core is 2'.5 across and; essentially circ. SW 2'.5 is m12 *. core texture is opaque like vhisfcbr; areas such as center of M87. brtness rises smoothly to cen pip 10" across; 190x. BS, 14Oct1982, Anderson Mesa.

- [gc survey] mostly @ 140x in RC scope. G289 and G295 obvious, *ar [they; are indeed *s, not gc's]; G295 much brtr; * immed SE of G289 is vis.; can't see A40, but can see triangle of *s surrounding it (* SW w/averted; vis only), though there is some general haziness in the area. C410 is; threshold *ar obj. A42 vf; can't see G279 or A41. no general brtning in; vicinity of C311-C313. can't see anything special at A49. A102 has consp; *ar spot of m14 w/some vf haziness around it. A54 is mottled broad area; best seen @ 98x. G244 and G275 are too f. G229 is threshold obj @ 140x.; C202-C203 are vis and seem resolved compared to *s of sim brtness SSE; (faint comp * there also vis at threshold). G156 not vis, likewise G119.; triangle of brtr *s nr G76 are easy; close pair (not res here) on SW; side of triangle are vis. G76 and its comp * SE are just separable. A78; (= N 206) is consp in fld as 2'x1' haze more sharply defined on E flank;; vf *ings in it. merges smoothly into spiral arms along its maj axis;; concens in its N side (cf. photo) are not discernable, or perhaps only; marginally. G78 is vis @ 190x. A67 is there also. C205 is marginal at; best. BS, 14Oct1982, Anderson Mesa.

30cm - well concen w/extremely br center. dk lane not seen as general dkning of; NW side as in 6cm, but as discrete lane (not much fntr than halo) that is; 1' wide and passes 2' from the center. m10.5 * just out of core. nuc; looks weird: it has brtr sub*ar center, as would be expected, but there; seem to be some brtnings w/in 15" radius. the fld can be seen to get brtr; in the direc of the center for about two flds on either side along maj; axis [at what power?]. CBL, Roof.

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf


From southern sub-urban skies, this galaxy looks like a large globular cluster, very elongated and easy in 11x80 binoculars. A 10-inch f/5 at 30x shows it as an elongated globular cluster, milky, with a bright, large nucleus.

1997 October 9

11x80: 1997-10-09, 02:00, Jonkershoek, seeing 3, transparency 3, darkness 3 "Clipped the binocs off the stand and looked to the north, where the conditions were worse; local transparency 6, darkness 7-8. M31 was low down, and not seen with the naked eye. It looked like a round, evenly illuminated globular cluster, with tapering spikes or cones of soft light coming off at opposite ends."

2008 December 22

Mount Ceder

16x70 Fujinons

Conditions: Clear, dark.

With the naked eye, M31 is a definite smudge low above the mountains, this despite the fact that I'm not properly dark adapted. Through Dieter's 16x70 Fujinons, the galaxy appears to stretch across the full four-degree field of view.

Chris Vermeulen

2006 September 23

2006/9/23, 22h20

Sky Conditions: Clear

Quality of Observation: Good

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

6" Dobsonian (10mm & 25mm Eyepieces)

Andromeda is visible to the naked eye in areas where light pollution does not affect observations, due to its low altitude on NNE horizon. It appears as a small and feint fuzziness but with a telescope at 48x magnification, its oval shape becomes more apparent with a slight increase in brightness in the centre.

At 120x magnification the bulge in the centre of the object can be clearly distinguished with the cloudiness surrounding it and it also appeared that there are some dark lanes visible.

With the 48x magnification M31 is an awesome sight to observe and together with the surrounding stars it offers great reward and viewing pleasure.

Richard Ford

2009 September, 19h


Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.

Transparency of the Sky:Haziness only visible on the horizon.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.



Object Type:Galaxy.

First Impression:This object looks like a spiral galaxy.



Chart Number:No.2(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").

Brightness:Magnitude 3.4.

Overall Shape:Spiral structure is easily seen in this large galaxy.This galaxy is seen edge on.It has a well defined shape.

Brightness Profile: This galaxy galactic nucleus is brighter compared to the central outskirts of this galaxy.

Challenge Rating:Spectacular sight.

What does the galactic nucleus look like? This nucleus is elongated in shape.The stars concentrated towards the nucleus are well resolved into individual stars.

Any stars very near or within this galaxy? Yes,there are plenty of 6th to 7th magnitude stars.

Are there darker areas within this galaxy? Yes,some darker areas have been found within the outskirts of this galaxy.

Are there areas of uneven brightness? Yes,some areas of uneven brightness is noted around the outskirts of this galaxy.

Tom Bryant

2007-09-13 00:15:00

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[0h 42m 42s, 41 16m 0s] I managed to trace the boundaries of this galaxy to 4 degrees along its major axis. The dark lanes just west of the nucleus were glimpsed. The light of the galaxy is uniform, especially towards the center.

2006-09-26 03:30:00

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[0h 42m 42s, 41 16m 0s] Only the nucleus of this huge spiral is visible, as a large, low contrast elliptical glow, brighter in the middle.

Carol Botha

2007- 11- 27

Location: Citrusdal

Time: 21:45

Telescope: 8" Dobsonian - F5. Eyepiece 15mm. FOV-45'

Sky conditions: Seeing 3/5 (stars twinkling)

Apparent size: 35' x 9'

Actual Dimensions: 178' x 178' (Cartes du Ciel)

Object description:

Spiral galaxy in Andromeda

Through binocs the object looks like a globular cluster.

Through telescope the edge-on spiral galaxy shape is more apparent. Elongation NE SW

The soft central bulge is slightly brighter than the the rest. Nucleus is much brighter.

Edges not well defined but with averted vision some structural lines are maybe visible. Especially on SW side there seems to be a dark lane. Now one must be careful here. Andromeda is so well known that I might be imagining some of the detail.

NE a large triangle of bright stars accompanied by a small triangle of faint stars seem to have the galaxy in a grip.

SW a small group of 4 stars (2 bright, 1 dimmer and one faint)

Lots of things rustling in the bushes!

If I compare the apparent size of my sketch to the actual size of this object , I have clearly not seen the whole of Andromeda but just the very brightest part !

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