Andromeda Galaxy M31

Andromeda Galaxy is a large bright (can be seen with naked eyes on a dark night) target. It fills more sky than several full Moons. To find Andromeda Galaxy look in the North Eastern part of the sky in the fall around 9:00PM and locate the "W" of Cassiopeia, also locate the great square of Pegasus. About half way between these two asterisms is the Galaxy. If it is a very dark sky you should see what looks like a broken off section of the Milky Way - That is it!

Now focus on the "W" of Cassiopeia and notice that one part of the W is sharp and well defiined while the other half of the W looks like it got streched out a little. Use the well defined part as a pointer towards the first brighter stars that is about 3 pointer widths away. there is a brighter star a little further and a little off course, ignore it. Now about 4/5 of the way to that star and about 1/5 to the East is Andromeda Galaxy. Sweep the area untill you see a fuzzy glow. In the same area are the satellite galaxies M32 and M110.

When you find Andromeda Galaxy what you will see will strongly depend on where you are viewing from and what size telescope you are looking through. You will not see Andromeda as you see in posters and as the top photo shows. You can see Andromeda, as the above photo shows, through a 6 inch or larger scope in very dark skies. A 10 inch or larger with less than ideal skies will show you the same. Under all clear sky conditions you will be able to see the nucleus. While viewing try to see the dark band of dust clouds pasing across. Also see if you can find M32 and M110. These satellite galaxies, in small to medium scopes look like stars with a faint haze surrounding them. Notice in the above photo at about 11:30 above Andromeda's nucleus a faint fuzzy glow that is M110. Now notice the large fat star in the lower right corner that is M32. You should under most conditions be able to find M32, but M110 will be more of a challenge to see.

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