Astrophotographer Captures Spectacular Sight of the Andromeda Galaxy From His Backyard

Andromeda Galaxy Photo by Brennan Gilmore

In the summer of 2020, the world was enthralled with the Comet Neowise, which only makes an appearance every 6,800 years. Brennan Gilmore was so enthralled that it kicked off a passion for astrophotography that continues today. Two years after beginning his journey photographing the stars, he has accomplished a major goal: photographing the Andromeda galaxy.

Our neighbor in the sky, Andromeda is a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way. Sitting 2.5 million light-years away, it remains a bright spot in the atmosphere and was something that Gilmore first photographed two years ago. However, it took him some time to build up the skills and acquire the equipment to achieve an image he was happy with. The final result was well worth the wait, as the image went viral after he posted it online and even ended up in Newsweek.

Gilmore captured the stunning image from his backyard in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the course of several nights. Using a four-inch telescope and astronomy camera, he took hundreds of photos of Andromeda. From there, he carefully culled his images, using only the very best for the final photograph.

In the end, all of his efforts paid off. The final photo, created from 290 individual frames, is incredibly detailed. Many of Andromeda's one trillion stars are visible through its gas halo. Gilmore thought of every detail, including the exposure so that even the core of the galaxy isn't overexposed. This allows viewers to drink in the stars and ponder on this far away neighbor, which is actually headed toward our own galaxy.

For Gilmore, seeing his Andromeda photo get widespread recognition is a beautiful end to a long journey. “It felt great to have the public appreciate and feel inspired by a photo which was essentially years in the making. Hopefully, it inspires people to try to photograph space, or at least spend some time under the stars.”

See more of Brennan Gilmore's incredible astrophotography.

Pleiades Star Cluster

Pleiades Star Cluster

Heart and Soul Nebula over the Rotunda at the University of Virginia

Heart and Soul Nebula over the Rotunda at the University of Virginia

Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn with the Moon over Lousia County, Virginia

Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn with the Moon over Lousia County, Virginia

Brennan Gilmore: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Brennan Gilmore.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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