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Here are 2 ways to find the Andromeda galaxy

View bigger. | To the attention, in a really darkish sky, the Andromeda galaxy appears to be like like a small elongated smudge. This view of Andromeda (higher proper of picture) was captured by EarthSky Fb buddy Ted Van at a Montana campsite on an August night time. Thanks, Ted!

2 methods to search out the Andromeda galaxy

Take an evening to drive to a darkish sky and discover the wonderful Andromeda galaxy. It’s the good spiral galaxy subsequent door to our Milky Approach and probably the most distant object you may see together with your eye alone. It’s greatest seen within the night presently of 12 months. Most individuals discover the galaxy by star-hopping from the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen, a really noticeable M- or W-shaped sample on the sky’s dome. It’s also possible to discover the Andromeda galaxy by star-hopping from the star Alpheratz within the Nice Sq. of Pegasus. Each strategies will lead you to the galaxy. See the charts under.

Star-hop from Cassiopeia

Star chart of constellations Cassiopeia and Andromeda with labeled Andromeda galaxy between them.
Right here’s the approach most individuals use to search out the Andromeda galaxy. Simply make sure you’re trying in a darkish sky. Look northward for the M- or W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia the Queen. Now find the star Schedar in Cassiopeia. It’s the constellation’s brightest star, and it factors to the Andromeda galaxy.

Star-hop from the Nice Sq. of Pegasus

Star chart with Great Square and Andromeda constellation outlined and Andromeda galaxy marked.
Right here’s one other approach to discover the Andromeda galaxy. The constellation Andromeda will be seen as 2 streams of stars extending from one aspect of the Nice Sq. of Pegasus. See the star Alpheratz? It joins Pegasus to Andromeda Now discover the star Mirach, then Mu Andromedae. An imaginary line drawn via Mirach to Mu factors to the Andromeda galaxy.

The significance of a darkish sky

Simply remember – shiny moonlight or metropolis lights can overwhelm the faint glow of this object. The one most necessary factor that you must see the galaxy is a darkish sky.

See more: Where is the andromeda galaxy tonight

What does the galaxy seem like to the attention? Assuming you could have a darkish sky, it seems as a big fuzzy patch – larger than a full moon within the sky – however vastly fainter and extra delicate.

Binoculars improve the view

Binoculars are a superb alternative for novices to look at the Andromeda galaxy, as a result of they’re really easy to level. As you stand beneath a darkish sky, find the galaxy together with your eye first. Then slowly convey the binoculars as much as your eyes in order that the galaxy comes into binocular view. If that doesn’t be just right for you, strive sweeping the world together with your binoculars. Go slowly, and make sure your eyes are dark-adapted. The galaxy will seem as a fuzzy patch to the attention. It’ll seem brighter in binoculars. Are you able to see that its central area is extra concentrated?

With the attention, or with binoculars, or with a yard telescope, the Andromeda galaxy received’t seem like the picture under. However it is going to be stunning. It’ll take your breath away.

Oblique swirly oblong with bright center and two bright fuzzy spots beside it, among dense stars.
The Andromeda galaxy and a couple of satellite tv for pc galaxies as seen via a robust telescope. To the attention, the galaxy appears to be like like a fuzzy patch. But it surely’s an island of stars in area, very like our Milky Approach. Picture by way of NOAO.

Backside line: The neighboring Andromeda galaxy – nearest massive spiral galaxy to our Milky Approach – will probably be seen on darkish, moonless evenings from now till the start of northern spring. Listed below are two methods to search out it.

Learn extra in regards to the Andromeda galaxy: All that you must know

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