M31 Andromeda Galaxy
The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest large galaxy, 2.5 million light years distant from the Milky Way. Both galaxies are part of the local group of approximately 25 galaxies, that include M32, M110, M33, and many dwarf galaxies. M31 is visible naked eye in a dark sky, and spans the width of 6 full moons. The entire span of the galaxy is only visible in long exposure photography.
The data for this image was supplied by the staff at Deepsky West observatories (deepskywest.com). Deepsky West is a remote observatory site in Rowe, New Mexico that offers remote hosting services for astro-imagers, as well as subscription plans for image data. The data I used for M31 was supplied free by DSW, as a sample of the quality data available from this site. Creating a beautiful image is dependent on the skills of the person processing the image , but the sky conditions of seeing, transparency, and light pollution play a very important role as well, in determining the quality of the final image.
The data for this image consisted of more that 12.5 hours of LRGB data. I used Maximdl to combine the RGB subs and did the post processing using Photoshop CS5.