Andromeda Galaxy (M31), 29 December 1888.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) taken on 29 December 1888 with an exposure of 4 hours. Dr Isaac Roberts, an amateur astronomer and pioneer astrophotography, took this image using a 20 inch aperture reflecting telescope. Made by Howard Grubb of Dublin, the telescope was first installed at his home near Liverpool, but later in 1890 he moved it to the les smoky skies of Crowborough, Susex. This is the first photograph to show the spiral nature of this nearby galaxy. In 1887, Roberts was invited to attend the first international conference in Paris on celestial photography. Here astronomers decided to embark on the, 'Carte du Ciel' an ambitious project to photograph the whole sky in unprecedented detail.