Many deep space objects can be seen with naked eyes, and the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is one of those. It is the most distant object that can be seen without equipment like binoculars or telescope. Andromeda galaxy is located at about 2.3 million light-years away from the Earth. It looks like any star, but with binoculars, it is possible to see the elliptical shape.
I have been getting a lot of emails and messages from my readers asking for information on how to locate Andromeda. This short guide aims at providing you the needed information in order to find Andromeda in the night sky.
Andromeda is close to the North Pole and it can be seen in autumn. It is best viewed in the northern hemisphere, but also few people in the southern hemisphere can see it in spring.
Although Andromeda is rather a big galaxy, it is not easy to find. Andromeda lies near to the Milky Way, next to Cassiopeia, Cepheus, and Cygnus. These constellations are not difficult to find, which helps much in finding Andromeda.
Here’s how you find the Andromeda Galaxy aka M31
Now, there are various ways to find Andromeda. One pretty good way to find it is to find the W-shape of Cassiopeia first. Now, look at the V-shape on the right side. You see that it points down, just like an arrow.
Andromeda is about 15 degrees far from the tip of the V-shape, but the arrow does not point directly to Andromeda. In fact, you need to search Andromeda from the right side of the line. I think this is the easiest way to find Andromeda.
Another way to find Andromeda is to start by finding the first Alpheratz. Next, calculate two bright stars to the left, and after that two fainter stars upwards. Andromeda Galaxy, M31, is right above the second fainter star (See the image). As said earlier, this is a little more difficult way to find Andromeda. Navigate the below image for guidance.
Early morning between 3-4 AM is the best time for Andromeda as its overhead at the time. It’s difficult to find it in the early night as it might just be on the northern horizon at the time.
Just follow these simple steps to find the Andromeda Galaxy
- First, choose the moonless night
- Find the darkest and clearest sky possible.
- Give your eyes some time to adapt to darkness.
- Look for the W-shape of Cassiopeia constellation in the northern hemisphere.
- Find Andromeda at the right side of the shape.
- Use Starmap app for the ease
- It’s advised to carry at least an astronomy binoculars for the best experience.
Over to you!
Start with this information and without any equipment. Try finding it naked eye first. To see the details of Andromeda Galaxy you will want a good telescope, like Astromaster 130EQ. Leave a comment if you would like to ask something more. I am just a comment away.