M32 - Le Gentil
Messier 32 (M32), also known as Le Gentil, is a dwarf elliptical galaxy located in Andromeda constellation.
The galaxy lies at a distance of 2.49 million light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 8.08. M32 is a satellite galaxy of M31, the famous Andromeda Galaxy. It has the designation NGC 221 in the New General Catalogue.
Messier 32 was named after Guillaume Le Gentil, the French astronomer who discovered it in 1749. The dwarf galaxy spans only 6,500 light years at its widest point and occupies an area 8.7 by 6.5 arc minutes in size in the sky.
Le Gentil can be seen in binoculars and appears like a hazy patch of light. In small telescopes, it looks like a diffuse ball of light with a bright core, surrounded by a small halo.
8-inch telescopes will reveal the galaxy’s oval shape, but even larger instruments will not show much detail because M32 is very small, especially when compared to M31.
Facts about M32 by Keith Turnecliff
Messier 32 is one of Andromeda Galaxy‘s 14 known satellite galaxies and one of the two brightest ones. The other bright dwarf elliptical galaxy, Messier 110, is more distant. Both galaxies were first resolved by the German astronomer Walter Baade in 1944. Baade used the 100-inch telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles.