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Thread: Andromeda Galaxy

  1. #1 Andromeda Galaxy 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    Do you have any suggestions for observing Andromeda galaxy, people say you can spot it with the naked eye, I don't seem to be able to. Some light pollution where I observe from, but no street lights. I have binoculars and an eight inch dobsonian.


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    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    First of all you should of course know where to look for it. Star charts or a planetarium software can be helpful. When you are outside, you should start from the left corners of the Pegasus rectangle. The constellation of Andromeda continues from here to the left. At the second star, you need to go up another two stars. In good conditions (clear air, low light pollution) you should be able to see it above and right of the second star up. It needs some practice to find such a faint and nebulous object with the naked eye, but it is possible. Better even with binoculars.

    You should not aim directly at the location of the nebula, but try to look a little bit away from it. The receptors in the eye's retina are most sensitive at the periphery of the field of view. You can practice this "indirect observing" with less faint objects first.

    Remember that it becomes more difficult to see an extended object like the Andromeda galaxy the more you magnify it. The higher the magnification the better conditions you need. You will not see it in its full galore anyway, because only the nucleus is bright enough to see it without integrating instruments (cameras). You will need to watch for something that more looks like a spherical nebulosity with a brighter core.


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    Andromeda is easy to see under a fairly dark sky. My 20x80 binoculars brought it up well. As said what you need is a low a magnification as possible when looking at it as it quickly starts vanishing under higher magnifications. Professional photos are taken over a long time with CCD help. It should be remembered that most stars we see in the night sky are from light years to thousands of light years away whereas Andromeda is two million light years away, so even though it's a whole galaxy, the stars are very faint.
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  5. #4 Re: Andromeda Galaxy 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Do you have any suggestions for observing Andromeda galaxy, people say you can spot it with the naked eye, I don't seem to be able to. Some light pollution where I observe from, but no street lights. I have binoculars and an eight inch dobsonian.
    I would highly recommend putting the binoculars on a fairly steady tripod. You should also be able to get a decent view using your dob. What eyepiece are you using and what focal length is the dob?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    The first time I've seen Andromeda I was like WOW!!. I had purchased an old beat up dented out of alignment 4.5 inch Bushnell reflector scope from Goodwill. I think I paid $15 for it. I had more fun with that scope then I have had in a long time, countless nights just trying to find things in a terrible light polluted area.

    Since then I've moved up in the world and have witnessed 3 galaxies in plain view in a single eyepiece. It's truly awe inspiring to do so. If I drive way out in the desert I can get views that are breathtaking. Because I don't have a vehicle that will go off road at all I'm stuck with my back yard for now.

    Here is my latest backyard (light polluted) Andromeda photo. This was taken with my 8 inch reflector. I still want a 10 inch

    Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name
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    That's a good steady picture with some good detail for an 8".
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  8. #7 Andromeda Galaxy 
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    TThe Andromeda Galaxy (also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224; older texts often called it the Andromeda Nebula) is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda.
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