Gaia's view of the Andromeda galaxy
The Andromeda galaxy, or M31, the largest galactic neighbour to our Milky Way, as viewed by ESA's Gaia satellite after its first 14 months of operations. These views are not photographs but were compiled by mapping the total density of stars (left) and the total amount of radiation, or flux (right), detected by Gaia in each pixel.
On the left, the image based on the stellar density shows where stars of all types are located within the galaxy.
On the right, the image based on the total flux mainly depicts the bright end of the stellar population of the galaxy, tracing out the regions of most intense star formation.
This image was produced by André Moitinho, Márcia Barros, Carlos Barata from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and Hélder Savietto from Fork Research, Portugal. The creation of this and other similar images is described in the paper "Gaia Data Release 1: The archive visualisation service" by A. Moitinho et al. 2017, A&A, 605, A52.