Andromeda in UV

An ultraviolet view of M31 from GALEX.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An ultraviolet view of M31 from GALEX. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

What a nice image of the Andromeda Galaxy!

The ultraviolet view from the GALEX almost doesn’t look real. Andromeda is also known as M31 as it is the 31st entry in Charles Messier’s catalog. That always sort of surprised me. I would have thought it would be further up on the list as this is so easy to see. The galaxy was depicted in Book of Fixed Stars by Abd-al-Rahman Al-Sufi in 964 AD, he knew it as “little cloud”. I’m not going to say you can see this with the naked-eye; a lot goes into that, dark skies, dark adapted eyes, even eye sight plays a part. I’m not saying you can’t either.

If you have a pair of binoculars, you can see it. Have a look.

The NASA description of the image is worth paying a visit, particularly if you would like a wallpaper version of this – they even have my screen size! Check it out. Even if you don’t want the wallpaper you can get the largest image and explore the galaxy in more detail. If you are wondering why the edges seem  uneven, this is collage of images, that was necessary because Andromeda is so large.

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