In the summer of 2020, the world was captivated by Comet Neowise, which only appears every 6,800 years. Brennan Gilmore was so captivated that he started a passion for astrophotography that continues today. Two years after beginning his journey photographing the stars, he accomplished a major goal: photographing the Andromeda galaxy.
Our neighbor in the sky, Andromeda is a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way. Located 2.5 million light-years away, there remains a bright spot in the atmosphere and it’s something Gilmore first photographed two years ago. However, it took him some time to learn the skills and acquire the necessary equipment to achieve an image he was happy with. The end result was well worth the wait, as the image went viral after it was uploaded and even ended up in Newsweek.
Gilmore captured the stunning image of his garden in Charlottesville, Va., over several nights. Using a four-inch telescope and an astronomy camera, he took hundreds of photos of Andromeda. From there, he carefully selected his images, using only the best for the final photograph.
In the end, all his efforts paid off. The final photo, created from 290 individual images, is incredibly detailed. Many of Andromeda’s trillion stars are visible through its gas halo. Gilmore has thought of every detail, including exposure so that even the heart of the galaxy is not overexposed. It allows viewers to drink from the stars and reflect on this distant neighbor, which is actually heading towards our own galaxy.
For Gilmore, seeing his Andromeda photo gaining widespread recognition is a great end to a long journey. “It was great to see the public enjoying and feeling inspired by a photo that basically took years to make. under the stars.