The Galaxy Next Door: Stunning Star Clouds Shine in Andromeda (Photo)
Astrophotographers Bob and Janice Fera took this photo of star cloud NGC 206 in the Andromeda Galaxy on Sept. 17-19, 2012 from Eagle Ridge Observatory in Foresthill, Calif. The Feras used an Officina Stellare RC-360AST 14" f/8 Ritchey Chretien Cassegrain telescope with two-element field flattener to observe the star clouds. An Apogee Alta U16M CCD camera with Astrodon filters was used to capture the photo.
Credit: Bob and Janice Fera

The star-filled cloud NGC 206 in the Andromeda galaxy (M31) shines in this spectacular photo.

Astrophotographers Bob and Janice Fera took this image of the Andromeda galaxy  on Sept. 17-19, 2012, from Eagle Ridge Observatory in Foresthill, Calif. The Feras used an Officina Stellare RC-360AST 14" f/8 Ritchey Chretien Cassegrain telescope with two-element field flattener to observe the star clouds. An Apogee Alta U16M CCD camera with Astrodon filters was used to capture the photo.

The beautiful blue stars of NGC 206 make it one of the brightest star clouds in the spiral galaxy Andromeda. On a very clear night, the Andromeda galaxy can sometimes be viewed from Earth without any instruments. It's located just to the north of the constellation bearing its name. This galaxy is the Milky Way's closest neighbor and contains approximately a trillion stars. 

Editor's note: If you have an amazing skywatching photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.

Follow SPACE.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook and Google+.