Two Nearby Galaxies

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and M33 in Triangulum are the two nearest large galaxies visible from the Northern Hemisphere. The large photo below is M31; this image was made by combining three 16-minute exposures on Fuji Super G 800 using a 500 mm f/4 Nikon lens and a Deep Sky Filter. Except for the trace of color, this is not unlike the view of M31 through a large telescope: a brilliant but featureless elliptical core, surrounded by very delicate spiral arms and dust lanes. It's small companion galaxies, M110 (the small elliptical patch at 10 o'clock from the core) and M32 (the bright round fuzzball at 3 o'clock) look just as they do in a telescope.

M33 has proven to be a much more difficult target for me. The inset at lower right was made from the red components of six 10-minute exposures on Kodak Ektapress 1600 film using a 130 mm aperture f/8 refractor and a Deep Sky Filter. M33 has a much lower surface brightness than M31, and I will have to work very hard to get a good photo of it from Princeton.