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M32 Galaxy
Charles Zorn

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M32 is the small, bright neighbor of the Great Andromeda galaxy, or M31, and was the first ever elliptical galaxy discovered by Le Gentil in 1749. It can easily be observed when viewing Andromeda and is situated 22 arcminutes due south of M31’s center. M32 is described as an elliptical dwarf galaxy of roughly 3 billion solar masses. A surprising feature of M32 is that its nucleus is comparable to that of M31.This is evident as the nucleus of M32 consists of roughly 100 million solar masses, 5000 suns per cubic parsecs, in a state of motion about a central, super massive object.  Also, along with M110, M32 is one of the closest galaxies to earth.

The image above depicts the M32 galaxy sitting in the center of the image. The light haze that is visible in the upper right corner of the image is the result of M31 spanning into the image. This image provides an accurate depiction of an elliptical galaxy as M32 is shown very clearly in the shape of an ellipse. Also, one can see a great number of faint stars around the center of M32 which supports the fact that elliptical galaxies are generally made up of old stars. Based on the above image, the galaxy is about 2500 lightyears across.

References:
Frommert, Hartmut, and Christine Kronberg. "Messier 32." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. Accessed 6 Dec. 2010. <http://seds.org/messier/m/m032.html>.

Graham, Alister W. "Evidence for an Outer Disk in the Prototype `Compact Elliptical' Galaxy M32." Astrophysical Journal (2002), 568, L13.

Right Ascension (J2000) 42:42:00
Declination (J2000) +40:52:00
Filters used clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 6x60 seconds in C
Date observed

October 25, 2010 (C)

 

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