Over the last few weeks, the night skies have clear, giving photographers the perfect opportunity to capture stunning images of this beautiful area of space.
One amateur stargazer who has taken advantage of this unique opening is Jeff Johnson.
He spent most of December trying to snap the amazing view from his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Johnson has since passed his photos onto SPACE.com, and he told the website via email, “In December – after 6 months of poor weather here in Las Cruces (March to September) – I was able to get out during a week of leave I had from work.”
The above photograph was taken on December 6 and 15.
Johnson took these images with a Takahashi FS-60C @ f/6.2 telescope, Takahashi EM200 Temma II mount, QSI 540wsg @ -15C camera, with Astrodon Ha (3nm), Astrodon Tru-Balance I-Series LRGB Gen 2 filters and SX Lodestar guider.
Several other images from different photographers have since been uploaded to Space.com, and you can check out a selection of them below:
Dozens of other space enthusiasts have taken to Twitter to showcase some interesting facts and images about Andromeda too:
— kevin russell (@kevinrns) January 26, 2014
“Precipe” In this Picture you can see Andromeda Galaxy and Aurora Borealis in Oregon. Taken by GoldPaintPhotography. pic.twitter.com/5Mpv1NbvIP
— An eye of sky (@aneyeofsky) January 25, 2014
— Observing Space (@ObservingSpace) January 22, 2014
Also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, M31 is more than 220,000 light-years across & lies 2.5 million light-years away. pic.twitter.com/QleAbnTnMo
— jadedjenny (@jadedjenny71) January 19, 2014
The likely future of our Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. The Antennae Galaxies in a galactic collision. ESA/HST. pic.twitter.com/IB5eHWrT6k
— Epic Cosmos (@EpicCosmos) December 29, 2013
— Epic Cosmos (@EpicCosmos) December 18, 2013
The Andromeda Galaxy tonight pic.twitter.com/JOIOwSc8zo
— Brian Emfinger (@brianemfinger) November 30, 2013
— Richie Jarvis (@richiedeepsky) October 29, 2013
Andromeda is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way, and it is actually located around 2.5 million light-years away from us.
In fact, it’s currently on a direct collision course with our galaxy. However, you shouldn’t fret too much because this titanic tussle won’t take place for another 5,000,000 years, and scientists expect Earth to survive anyway.