Gaia's view of the Andromeda galaxy – flux map
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. This view is not a photograph but was compiled by mapping the total amount of radiation, or flux, recorded by Gaia in each pixel of the image.
The image mainly depicts the bright end of the stellar population of the galaxy, tracing out the regions of most intense star formation.
A complementary view of Andromeda, created by mapping the total density of stars detected by Gaia in each pixel, is available here.
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.