See the return of the Andromeda Galaxy | Astronomy Now

See the return of the Andromeda Galaxy | Astronomy Now.This image of the Andromeda Galaxy, Messier 31, also shows its satellite galaxies, Messier 110 (top) and Messier 32 (lower right of M31’s nucleus). Dust lanes between the spiral arms of M31 can be seen in large amateur instruments, but the bright nucleus, M32 and M110 are easy targets for small telescopes. A 65mm f/6.5 refractor and Canon 1100D DSLR were used to capture this portrait of our largest galactic neighbour from rural Norfolk on 29 November 2013. Magnitude +4.5 nu (ν) Andromedae is the blue star in the lower left. Image credit: Ade Ashford.

The Milky Way’s tumultuous heart revealed in X-rays | Astronomy Now

The Milky Way’s tumultuous heart revealed in X-rays | Astronomy Now.This new image of powerful remnants of dead stars and their mighty action on the surrounding gas from the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray satellite observatory reveals some of the most intense processes taking place at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

The bright, point-like sources that stand out across the image trace binary stellar systems in which one of the stars has reached the end of its life, evolving into a compact and dense object — a neutron star or black hole. Because of their high densities, these compact remnants devour mass from their companion star, heating the material up and causing it to shine brightly in X-rays.