Into the Heart of the Beast! Ever wonder what is deep inside the bright Core of M31 The Andromeda Galaxy?
Here is my attempt to image past the overwhelming bright central glow of the Galaxy & to peak into the core to see all those dusty lanes, stars, & gas Spiraling into the central 100 million solar mass Black Hole.
The double nucleus, recently discovered by Hubble, was found not to be two black holes as some first speculated. The double nucleus is actually an elliptical ring of old reddish stars in orbit around the black hole,
When the stars are at the farthest point in their orbit they move slower, like cars piled up on a crowded freeway. This gives the illusion of a second nucleus.
I took 60 minutes worth of various short exposures ranging from 5 seconds to 2 minutes and layered them in Adobe to cut through the bright light to try to see the details in the core. I've been working on this on and off since Sept of 2014, and finally finished the processing last weekend.
M31 is Our Sister Galaxy, Closest spiral to us at 2.5 Million Light years away & contains over 1 trillion stars. M31 Andromeda is visible to the unaided eye from a dark location. M31 The Andromeda Galaxy and our Milky Way Galaxy
will experience a Galactic Collision in about 4 billion years.
Attached is an Image I captured with a QHY8 cooled Color CCD camera, and my Home-built 16"diameter Newtonian telescope, from my observatories at JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio 09/19/2014.