by Zan Vipotnik July 06, 2021 2 min read

One of the most beautiful sights in astronomy is seeing galaxies; and if you have a telescope, it's even easier. You can see them with your naked eye as well but they're much more fun to look at through a lens.  In this blog post we will explain to you how you can find the Great Andromeda Galaxy in the sky.

The Great Andromeda Galaxy is one of the most famous galaxies in our universe, but it can be difficult to see with your telescope. It's a little bit outside what we call "the Milky Way". Not all telescopes are made equal so make sure that yours has enough power before attempting this project! Besides, the Andromeda Galaxy should be visible on any clear night without trying too hard - all you need are dark skies free from light pollution or moonlight interference! You can spot this galactic beauty all year round if you have very dark skies; however, keep your eyes peeled during November through January when we see it at its brightest since that time of year corresponds with autumn here on earth (and leaves provide more protection against artificial light).

Step 1. 

To find Andromeda, it’s easiest to start with Cassiopeia (it’s called “circumpolar" for good reason). For northern hemisphere stargazers, look in the northeast and you will see five bright D-shaped patterns - these are actually easy recognizable as an "W", which is what separates each letter in "Cassiopeia".

Step 2.

Once you’ve found Cassiopeia, use the right-hand half of the ‘W’ as an arrow pointing towards Andromeda. The distance between these two constellations is around three times the height of a letter W - but don't worry! You can still find it with your naked eye if you know where to look for it. With binoculars or telescope and looking carefully through them, you will see what looks like a cloud that's actually another galaxy in our universe!

Step 3.

While you’re in this part of the sky, use the nearby ‘Great Square of Pegasus’ asterism to test your light pollution. There are a number of ways to measure how dark your sky is, but the most accurate way would be by counting stars in the Great Square. If you can't see any stars inside this square then it means that there's not much light pollution and if you get 9 or more than 4 starts per inch squared, respectively for excellent or good skies then things should look great from now on. This constellation is visible between August and December for those living across parts of Europe, but during October it can be seen all night long! The Great Square has four bright stars arranged as an almost perfect square shape below Cassiopeia's 'W'.


It will take time and effort to find the Great Andromeda Galaxy in the sky, but it is definitely worth it!



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