The Andromeda Galaxy - Messier's M31 - has an almost romantic appeal. It is the most distant object and the only extragalactic object that is visible to the unaided human eye. It is also almost a twin of the Milky Way Galaxy and our neighbor in space, now known to be about 2.5 million light-years away. The Andromeda Galaxy and the Rise of Modern Astronomy examines ancient and modern astronomical studies of Andromeda and the galaxy's critical role in the development of the science of astrophysics and our growing knowledge of the universe.
At the start of the twentieth century the universe was thought of as a finite cosmos dominated by the Milky Way. The study of Andromeda shattered that image, leading ultimately to the conception of an infinite universe of countless galaxies and vast distances. Even today, M31 is a major source of new astronomical discoveries, and it also remains one of the most popular (and rewarding) celestial objects for amateur astronomers to observe and study.
Andromeda was once a popular object of folklore and later became central to our understanding of the universe. For all who are interested in astronomy, the skies, and perhaps even the origins of the universe, The Andromeda Galaxy and the Rise of Modern Astronomy provides a first-of-its-kind accessible, informative, and highly readable account of how the study and observation of this celestial object has driven the development of astronomy from ancient times to the present.