NGC 206, a Starcloud in a Different Galaxy

By: Vlad Fedosov

Object info:

NGC 206 is a truly massive star cloud in out nearest intergalactic neighbor m31, the Andromeda Galaxy. This is a young star forming region in m31 that has some extraordinarily bright stars that can be seen from Earth!


On a winter evening in late January I was going some Electronically Assisted Astronomy(EAA) with my Meade 12″ ACF. I was looking at the region around m31 in SkySafari and saw an open cluster with an NGC designation that looked like it was in m31! After doing a bit of research this was indeed a starcloud region in m31 that was apparently bright enough to have its own NGC number assigned to it! I commanded the mounts goto to point to its coordinates as I was curios if I would actually be able to make it out. The conditions on that night where not ideal as seeing was poor and there were some thin high clouds rolling through. 

The cluster as immediately aperient on the computer screen! After about 3 minutes of 5sec exposures at f/10 stacking I could count around 40 stars in the cluster! Not I’m not sure if any are foreground objects. It is pretty remarkable to me that you can see any stars in a different galaxy from Earth!

Switching the flip mirror to give me a visual view with the ES 24mm 82° eyepiece I was greeted with a very dim haze. I think that I could see a few of the brighter members but I will need to confirm this in better conditions. Still pretty cool to even see something visually at this distance. 

The next night I had my imaging scope set up(FSQ 106) and decided to image m31. I was able to capture about 4.5 hours of data with the ASI 294MC Pro to produce the image below(arow points out NGC 206)!