M31 lies 2.5 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda and is the nearest large spiral galaxy to our own. Under a clear, dark sky, it can be seen as a misty patch with the naked eye. (Image: Bill Schoening, Vanessa Harvey/REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF)
In a galaxy far, far away … about 2.5 million light years, in fact, lie approximately 20,000 hot, young stars and dense clusters that comprise the Andromeda Galaxy. The galaxy, known as M31 in the constellation Andromeda, was recently captured by an ultraviolet optical telescope aboard NASA’s Swift satellite, and delivers the highest-resolution view of a neighboring spiral galaxy ever attained in the ultraviolet.