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Any tips for finding the Andromeda galaxy?


samir_ansari
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Hello Samir,

If you can locate the Great Square of Pegasus, and starting from the the top left star in the square, count three stars in an upward direction, and at the third star, move to the right, and count three more. You should then see the naked eye view of the galaxy as a misty patch of light. Train your telescope on it, to reveal it. Depending on the size of your scope, you may see some dust lanes, but imaging it, brings out it's best.

Ron.

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Lower arrow of Cassiopeia points to a brightish orange star. To the right of this is another star. Go the same distance again and that smudge is Andromeda, it has two stars above and below to its left side.

Of course you'll have to invert the directions if you're using your finderscope!

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The way I find it is to locate the "top" star in Andromeda (Almaak), drop down to the next star (Mirach) in the constellation and then along two to the right across the "belt". M31 is a fuzzy blob at the end of the belt.

James

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I try an draw a line from the lead alpha star in Cassiopeia, to Mirach, the second large star from the top in Andromeda, and look for the Galaxy a third of the distance from Mirach. I've been more successful finding it as a faint smudge through my Binos and the grab and go Dobsonian at low power. However, it's probably because I'm more used to the two.

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Aggggh! Excellent opening thread! Finding Andromeda visually is one of the games I keep playing to see how my sky knowledge is progressing. Drives me nuts! :)

It's the first thing I look up for if I can see Cassiopeia, and do like Hamiclar01 does.

Mike, the (usually unsuccessful) Andormeda hunter

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Make sure you're using a low-powered eyepiece - M31 is big but is difficult to find under high power. Use your lowest powered eyepiece and look for the broad area of fuzz. Searching the forums will also bring up numerous discussions about finding M31. It's a lot about expectation management - don't expect to see same view you see in magazines. Expect broad/medium bright fuzz...

Good luck.

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I found myself muttering "How the hell can I lose an entire galaxy?" on more than one occasion while looking for M31.

One of the best comments on locating M31 I have ever read.

As most scopes display M31 as a patch of fuzz I find that a simple pair of binoculars are the best to help locate the patch.

But if in London then it's going to be a challenge.

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I found myself muttering "How the hell can I lose an entire galaxy?" on more than one occasion while looking for M31.

TBH I just think its shy

It'll be down the back of the sofa. These things always are.

James

Edited by JamesF
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my best tip, wait till autumn, M31 is better placed in the sky then. When you do find it, which is easy when you known how, dont expect to be overly impressed. Expect to see a featureless oval of fuzziness, with its satellite galaxies (spots of fuzz). There are plenty of spring galaxies out now that will give better interest eg M51, NGC2903, Leo triplet, M81/82. Galaxies benefit from Dark skies so I'd take a trip outside from London.

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I'm about five miles from Nottingham, and I couldn't see it with the naked eye. It was hard enough to see through the scope, appearing as a fuzzy featureless oval. I found it by the simple expedient of unlocking the clutches on the mount and manually moving the scope across the general area indicated by Stellarium.

This may make it sound like I don't think it was worth the effort; nothing could be further from the truth. A galaxy. I mean, seriously. A whole galaxy. Billions of stars. Wow.

I suppose you can tell I'm new at this......

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I saw it on Sat night in a 12" dob as a very very faint smudge. No real definition at all cos it's too far west and lurking in the mire of light pollution.

The usual pointer is a line from bottom right to top left of the Great Square in Pegasus, and another from the pointy bit of Casiopiea - it's approximately where the two lines cross. But Pegasus is gone now till winter - so you have a short wait :)

Edited by brantuk
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Has anyone been "wowed" by M31 ?? The best I've had was with 15x70 binos. Doesnt seem to respond well to aperture, its just too large. There are dozens of galaxies well placed in the sky now (closer to zenith) that I'd prioritise above Andromeda in a telescope. I guess M31 has the novelty of being a close neighbour...

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I had a 'Wow' when I originally spotted Andromeda when I first got my scope, it took me 3 nights to find it mind you haha. And when I found it it went behind a cloud playing coy! haha. For some reason though I remember it being a bigger more defined smudge haze but when I found it at the end of last week It was a lot smaller. You could see a star in the middle of it and then the hazey patch. I assume that when I found it in january I remember it being nearly directly over head where now its lowish on the horizon in the light pollution band.

I also find it a different way now. Using my RDF I find the lower pointy bit of cassiopia and then look left to see one of the brighter stars of andromeda? then its about an inch to the right of that haha.

Paul''

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Over winter it was naked eye visible for me. (just)

I've also lived in urban areas and you have my sympathy.

Fundamentally you're not going to be onto a winner with M31. it's no brighter than most other galaxies.. they all have a remarkably similar brighness.. the closer they are the more light you get.. but it's spread over more sky so you end up back at square 1. (M109 at 55M-lightyears has only 1 magnitude dimmer surface brightness than M31 at 2M-lightyears)

Frankly.. I'd get a light pollution filter, or a train ticket... or both.

Derek

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I find the lower pointy bit of cassiopia....then its about an inch to the right of that haha....

Why don't we make a great new sky almanac etc. with layman's terms like above...instead of all the usual scientific malarky:

Declination - up 'n' down

Asterism: funny shape-thing in the sky

Globular cluster: blobby, smudgy thing

Perigee: the Moon's reet close

Apogee: the Moon's reet far

Supernova: bl**dy great big explosion

e/p - peephole

Magnitude 1: bright

magnitude 0: brighter

magniture -1: brighter still

etc.

:D

Edited by mikeknowle
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Has anyone been "wowed" by M31 ?? The best I've had was with 15x70 binos. Doesnt seem to respond well to aperture, its just too large. There are dozens of galaxies well placed in the sky now (closer to zenith) that I'd prioritise above Andromeda in a telescope. I guess M31 has the novelty of being a close neighbour...

I certainly have been wowed by M31 with my little ED80, albeit in November when it was better placed. But I was in a fairly urban enviroment and wasn't using any filters or expensive EP. With my ED80 and 17mm it still didn't fit in the FOV! It sure is biggy! :D

Michael

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Hi, I always have a quick scan with bino's, 10x50's, these are powerful enough to find andromeda which lies @ about 8 o'clock position from cassiopeia, you can only see andromeda earlyish in the evening, about 7-9 pm.

Good luck,

Adamski.

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Hi, I always have a quick scan with bino's, 10x50's, these are powerful enough to find andromeda which lies @ about 8 o'clock position from cassiopeia, you can only see andromeda earlyish in the evening, about 7-9 pm.

Good luck,

Adamski.

I was about to suggest the very same thing. I use my 8x42 birding bins to first locate M31, once in your head where it is it becomes a doddle to find.

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M31 is really a "big binocular" object more than a telescope object. It certainly produced a WOW when I spotted it last summer through my 15x70, and clearly hinted at a dust lane. It was even better than that using a 22mm Nagler in the 80mm apo (21.8x magnification, 3.76 deg FOV) from a dark site. It looks smaller now because you are looking through a thicker layer of atmosphere. Come back in autumn is a good idea. Go for M81, M82 or M51 instead, or trundle through Coma and Virgo. LOADS of galaxies there.

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