Andromeda Galaxy (M31), 29 December 1888.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of the Great Nebula (galaxy) in Andromeda, taken 29 December 1888 by Isac Roberts (1829-1904), an acclaimed early pioneer of astrophotography. A succesful building contractor and amateur astronomer, this image was made using Robert's twin telescope (20-inch reflector & 7-inch refractor) by Howard Grubb of Dublin. From his observatory at his home in Maghull, near Liverpool, he systematically photographed the brightest nebulae and star clusters visible from England. This high-resolution photograph is the first to show the spiral nature of the Andromeda Nebula, which we now know to be a galaxy, a vast island of stars at great distance from our own galaxy the Milky Way.