A guide to the Andromeda Galaxy

Facts about the Andromeda Galaxy, M31, and images captured by astrophotographers.

The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest big galaxy to Milky Way and is located over 2 million lightyears away.

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It is a spiral galaxy found in the Andromeda constellation and is about 200,000 lightyears wide. It is also known as M31, part of the deep-sky Messier Catalogue.

The Andromeda Galaxy is notable for its bright blue tinge, which is caused by pockets of hot young stars burning bright blue.

06 - The Andromeda Galaxy Brian Cummins, Virginia, USA, 1, 2, 24 & 25 November 2019 Equipment: ZWO ASI 1600MM-Pro mono camera, Orion 8
The Andromeda Galaxy by Brian Cummins, Virginia, USA, 1, 2, 24 & 25 November 2019. Equipment: ZWO ASI 1600MM-Pro mono camera, Orion 8″ Newtonian astrograph reflector, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro mount

It can be seen in the night sky in the northern hemisphere throughout much of the year, but is best seen in autumn.

What’s more, it can be seen with the naked eye under good conditions. For more on this, read our guide on how to see the Andromeda Galaxy.

The Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way are gravitationally interacting, and astronomers have calculated that both galaxies will collide in about 4.5 billion years time. This event is known as the Andromeda-Milky Way collision.

The Andromeda Galaxy James Downey, Ongar, Essex, 18 August and 9 September 2020 Equipment: ZWO ASI 533MC-Pro camera, William Optics RedCat 51 apo refractor, Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Pro mount
The Andromeda Galaxy by James Downey, Ongar, Essex, 18 August and 9 September 2020. Equipment: ZWO ASI 533MC-Pro camera, William Optics RedCat 51 apo refractor, Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Pro mount

Andromeda Galaxy and the Great Debate

Observations of the Andromeda Galaxy have led to some of the most important discoveries in the Universe: particularly its part in the Great Debate, in which astronomers Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis debated about whether other galaxies existed beyond our own.

The matter was settled largely because of the work of Edwin Hubble, after whom the Hubble Space Telescope was named.

Hubble was able to photograph individual stars in the ‘Andromeda Nebula’ (as it was then known) and in 1923, his observations of Cepheid variable stars led him to conclude that the Andromeda Galaxy must be located beyond our own Galaxy.

The Andromeda Galaxy Lloyd Mainwaring, Barry, 9 October 2020. Equipment: Canon 600D DSLR, William Optics GT81 apo refractor, Sky-Watcher HEQ5 mount.
The Andromeda by Galaxy Lloyd Mainwaring, Barry, 9 October 2020. Equipment: Canon 600D DSLR, William Optics GT81 apo refractor, Sky-Watcher HEQ5 mount.

Below is a selection of images of the Andromeda Galaxy captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers.

If you would like to capture images like these, read our guide to deep-sky astrophotography or our tutorial on how to photograph the Andromeda Galaxy.

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If you do manage to photograph the Andromeda Galaxy, don’t forget to send us your images or share them with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Pictures of the Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy Vicki Pink, Southampton, 21 September 2020. Equipment: Altair Hypercam 183C camera, Sky-Watcher 72ED Evostar refractor, Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro mount
The Andromeda Galaxy by Vicki Pink, Southampton, 21 September 2020. Equipment: Altair Hypercam 183C camera, Sky-Watcher 72ED Evostar refractor, Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro mount
The Andromeda Galaxy by Kevin Taylor, Gloucester, UK. Equipment: APM TMB105 4-inch APO refractor, William Optics TMB Flattener, QHY8 one-shot colour CCD camera.
The Andromeda Galaxy by Kevin Taylor, Gloucester, UK. Equipment: APM TMB105 4-inch APO refractor, William Optics TMB Flattener, QHY8 one-shot colour CCD camera.
M31 by Brendan Alexander, Donegal, Ireland. Equipment: Canon 1000D, CG4, Sigma 70-300mm.
M31 by Brendan Alexander, Donegal, Ireland. Equipment: Canon 1000D, CG4, Sigma 70-300mm.
Andromeda Galaxy by Danny Lee, Kent, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Explorer 150p, EQ5 Pro GOTO mount, Nikon D40 DSLR
Andromeda Galaxy by Danny Lee, Kent, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Explorer 150p, EQ5 Pro GOTO mount, Nikon D40 DSLR
M31 by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, Uk. Equipment: Altair Astro 8
M31 by Gary Palmer, Sutton, Surrey, Uk. Equipment: Altair Astro 8″ F8 Deluxe Ritchey Chretien Astrograph, Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro, Canon 7d camera.
The Andromeda Galaxy M31 by Wayne Stallard, Essex, UK. Equipment: Astro-Physics Mach1 GTO mount, William Optics FLT132, Photographic-Visual Telecompressor, SBIG ST10-XME.
The Andromeda Galaxy M31 by Wayne Stallard, Essex, UK. Equipment: Astro-Physics Mach1 GTO mount, William Optics FLT132, Photographic-Visual Telecompressor, SBIG ST10-XME.
Andromeda M31 by John Slinn, West Sussex, UK. Equipment: Orion ED80, William Optics FR, modified Canon 450D
Andromeda M31 by John Slinn, West Sussex, UK. Equipment: Orion ED80, William Optics FR, modified Canon 450D
Andromeda Galaxy by Lee Housden, Essex, UK. Equipment: Celestron CPC 8
Andromeda Galaxy by Lee Housden, Essex, UK. Equipment: Celestron CPC 8″, QHY5, SkyWatcher 80mm Apo, Cannon 450d Modded, Clip Filter
Andromeda Galaxy by Mark Casto, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200p EQ5, Canon 350d, RA drive
Andromeda Galaxy by Mark Casto, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200p EQ5, Canon 350d, RA drive
M31 by Andrew Jensen, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 80mm Equinox, Canon 450d, NEQ6 Mount
M31 by Andrew Jensen, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 80mm Equinox, Canon 450d, NEQ6 Mount
Andromeda by Ashley, Nottingham, UK. Equipment: Atik 16IC, Skywatcher EQ66mm, William Optics ZS80, EQ Mount
Andromeda by Ashley, Nottingham, UK. Equipment: Atik 16IC, Skywatcher EQ66mm, William Optics ZS80, EQ Mount
Messier 31 in Narrowband by Nick, Cherhill, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: TMB 105 F4.9, Atik 4000CCD, Astronomik H-Alpha, OIII, SII filters, Meade DSI-c/ST102 autoguider, EQ6 mount
Messier 31 in Narrowband by Nick, Cherhill, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: TMB 105 F4.9, Atik 4000CCD, Astronomik H-Alpha, OIII, SII filters, Meade DSI-c/ST102 autoguider, EQ6 mount
Andromeda by James L Mconnachie, East Ayrshire, Scotland, UK. Equipment: Williams Optics ZS70, Synguider ST80, Canon Eos 400d Baader Modded, CGEM mount.
Andromeda by James L Mconnachie, East Ayrshire, Scotland, UK. Equipment: Williams Optics ZS70, Synguider ST80, Canon Eos 400d Baader Modded, CGEM mount.
M31 by Mark Casto, Halesworth, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Evostar ED80, EQ5 dual axis mount, Cannon 350d modded.
M31 by Mark Casto, Halesworth, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Evostar ED80, EQ5 dual axis mount, Cannon 350d modded.
M31 Andromeda Galaxy by Stephen Wilson, Middlesbrough, UK. Equipment: ED80 DS Pro, Canon EOS450D, CLS filter, Backyard EOS, HEQ5 Pro mount.
M31 Andromeda Galaxy by Stephen Wilson, Middlesbrough, UK. Equipment: ED80 DS Pro, Canon EOS450D, CLS filter, Backyard EOS, HEQ5 Pro mount.
M31 by Ivaylo Stoynov, Rozhen, Bulgaria. Equipment: WO ZS 110, WO 0.8 FF/FR, Takahashi EM-200, guide ZS 66SD, Modified Canon 550D.
M31 by Ivaylo Stoynov, Rozhen, Bulgaria. Equipment: WO ZS 110, WO 0.8 FF/FR, Takahashi EM-200, guide ZS 66SD, Modified Canon 550D.
Backgarden Andromeda by Megan Lucas, Northampton, UK. Equipment: Canon 550D, f1.4 50mm lens, tripod.
Backgarden Andromeda by Megan Lucas, Northampton, UK. Equipment: Canon 550D, f1.4 50mm lens, tripod.
M31 by Spencer Stone, Ashford, Kent, UK. Equipment: Canon EOS 600D, Celestron C8, CG5 GoTo Mount.
M31 by Spencer Stone, Ashford, Kent, UK. Equipment: Canon EOS 600D, Celestron C8, CG5 GoTo Mount.
M31 Andromeda by James L McConnachie, East Ayrshire, UK. Equipment: Williams Optics ZS70, Celestron CGEM, Canon 400d Baader modded.
M31 Andromeda by James L McConnachie, East Ayrshire, UK. Equipment: Williams Optics ZS70, Celestron CGEM, Canon 400d Baader modded.
M31 Andromeda Galaxy by David Liaromatis, Grove, UK. Equipment: Teleskop Service 65mm astrograph, QHY8 CCD, NEQ-6 Mount, Orion ED-80 Guide Scope, QHY6 Guide Camera
M31 Andromeda Galaxy by David Liaromatis, Grove, UK. Equipment: Teleskop Service 65mm astrograph, QHY8 CCD, NEQ-6 Mount, Orion ED-80 Guide Scope, QHY6 Guide Camera
M31 Andromeda Galaxy by James Stannard, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: EQ-mod EQ3-2 mount dual axis motors, modded Canon 1000D, Canon 200mm f2.8 L prime lens, Home made guide scope, Logitech QC4000 webcam as guide cam.
M31 Andromeda Galaxy by James Stannard, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: EQ-mod EQ3-2 mount dual axis motors, modded Canon 1000D, Canon 200mm f2.8 L prime lens, Home made guide scope, Logitech QC4000 webcam as guide cam.
M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy by David Burr, Wimborne, Dorset, UK. Equipment: Celestron CG5 Computerised Mount, Williams Optics 120mm Refractor, Canon EOS 450D.
M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy by David Burr, Wimborne, Dorset, UK. Equipment: Celestron CG5 Computerised Mount, Williams Optics 120mm Refractor, Canon EOS 450D.
The Andromeda galaxy M31, M32 & M110 Jeff Burgess, Musselburgh, UK. Equipment: Celestron ED80, William Optics ZS66 guidescope, Astro modified Canon 1000D, Altair Astro x 0.8 flattener/ focal reducer, Meade DSI II Pro mono guide camera, EQMOD controlled NEQ6 Pro
The Andromeda galaxy M31, M32 & M110 Jeff Burgess, Musselburgh, UK. Equipment: Celestron ED80, William Optics ZS66 guidescope, Astro modified Canon 1000D, Altair Astro x 0.8 flattener/ focal reducer, Meade DSI II Pro mono guide camera, EQMOD controlled NEQ6 Pro
Andromeda Galaxy by Tracey Snelus, Isle of Anglesey. Equipment: Williams Optics 80mm refractor, EQ5, 50mm orion guidescope, QHY5 camera.
Andromeda Galaxy by Tracey Snelus, Isle of Anglesey. Equipment: Williams Optics 80mm refractor, EQ5, 50mm orion guidescope, QHY5 camera.
M31 Andromeda RGB by Andrew Jensen, Battisford, Suffolk, UK. Equipment:Skywatcher 80mm Equionox, Atik383l, NEQ6
M31 Andromeda RGB by Andrew Jensen, Battisford, Suffolk, UK. Equipment:Skywatcher 80mm Equionox, Atik383l, NEQ6
M31 by Jarrod Bennett, Mutxamel, Spain. Equipment: Canon 450D, 50mm lens and Vixen Polarie.
M31 by Jarrod Bennett, Mutxamel, Spain. Equipment: Canon 450D, 50mm lens and Vixen Polarie.
Andromeda Galaxy by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Nikon D7000 DSLR, TS 65mm quadruplet refractor, EQ6 mount.
Andromeda Galaxy by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Nikon D7000 DSLR, TS 65mm quadruplet refractor, EQ6 mount.
M31 Andromeda Galaxy- unguided by Neville Fox, Powys, Mid Wales, UK. Equipment: Fuji S5 Pro, 12
M31 Andromeda Galaxy- unguided by Neville Fox, Powys, Mid Wales, UK. Equipment: Fuji S5 Pro, 12″ GSO Newtonian, EQ6
M31 - The Great Andromeda Galaxy by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, EQ5 GoTo Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd camera.
M31 – The Great Andromeda Galaxy by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, EQ5 GoTo Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd camera.
Andromeda Galaxy by Lee Housden, Celestron CPC 800, Skywatcher 80mm Apo, Peir And Wedge, QHY5, QHY10 Cooled CCD, Light Pollution Filter, Dew Control System
Andromeda Galaxy by Lee Housden, Celestron CPC 800, Skywatcher 80mm Apo, Peir And Wedge, QHY5, QHY10 Cooled CCD, Light Pollution Filter, Dew Control System
M31 The Andromeda Galaxy by Stephen Jennette, Morecambe, UK. Equipment: Equinox 80, TRF2008, QHY8L, Atik 428, Skywatcher EQ8
M31 The Andromeda Galaxy by Stephen Jennette, Morecambe, UK. Equipment: Equinox 80, TRF2008, QHY8L, Atik 428, Skywatcher EQ8
M31 LRGB-Ha by André van der Hoeven, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, The Netherlands & Steinborn, Daun, Germany. Equipment: TMB-92, QSI-583ws, NEQ-6 with OAG
M31 LRGB-Ha by André van der Hoeven, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, The Netherlands & Steinborn, Daun, Germany. Equipment: TMB-92, QSI-583ws, NEQ-6 with OAG
M31 Andromeda Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount & Equinox 80mm refractor, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik LRGB filters.
M31 Andromeda Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount & Equinox 80mm refractor, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik LRGB filters.
Andromeda Galaxy by Derek J Gardiner, Whittingham, Northumberland, UK. Equipment: 11
Andromeda Galaxy by Derek J Gardiner, Whittingham, Northumberland, UK. Equipment: 11″ Celestron CGEM, Hyperstar lens, Canon 100D
M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy by Gavin James, Marlborough, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Evostar ED80, Reducer, QSI-683-WSG camera.
M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy by Gavin James, Marlborough, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Evostar ED80, Reducer, QSI-683-WSG camera.
M31 The Andromeda Galaxy - 4 Frame Mosaic by David Pickles, Ilchester, Somerset, UK. Equipment: QHY8L, Skywatcher Explorer 190MN Pro, EQMod, EQMosaic.
M31 The Andromeda Galaxy – 4 Frame Mosaic by David Pickles, Ilchester, Somerset, UK. Equipment: QHY8L, Skywatcher Explorer 190MN Pro, EQMod, EQMosaic.
The Andromeda Galaxy by Chris Price, Cedartown, GA, USA. Equipment: SkyWatcher 100ed APO, Celestron CG-5 Advanced GT mount, Canon T3i
The Andromeda Galaxy by Chris Price, Cedartown, GA, USA. Equipment: SkyWatcher 100ed APO, Celestron CG-5 Advanced GT mount, Canon T3i