The Andromeda Galaxy is photographed in a telephoto image (single-exposure) from the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the top of La Palma, 2400 meters above see level. The Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), operated by Spain, appears in the foreground. It is one of the world’s largest telescopes with the aperture of 10.4 m. Our two major neighbors in the Local Group of galaxies are visible in the image, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33), the little round cloud on the left. Each of the two are giant cosmic islands, home to many billions of stars. The two galaxies are between 2.5 to 3 million light years away, neighboring the Milky Way in the Local Group of galaxies. The light we now receive from them belong to the era before Homo Habilis appeared in Africa. Click on the second photo to see a closer view of the galaxy over the telescope.



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