Andromeda Galaxy Visible to Eagle-Eye Skywatchers


Soon after sunset, as the sky gets dark, look toward the south and you'll immediately notice the brilliant planet Jupiter, but there's another night sky target that also promises a great experience: the amazing Andromeda Galaxy.

Jupiter is a great starting point to find the Andromeda Galaxy. After you find the bright planet, look high above it – almost directly overhead - to find four bright stars. These are the Great Square of Pegasus, the Winged Horse, an unmistakable star pattern, even though it is slightly battered out of true square shape.

Nonetheless, Pegasus is a striking figure and once you see it you won't forget it. [Gallery: Photos of the Andromeda Galaxy]

Interestingly, the star in the upper left corner of the Square – Alpheratz – actually belongs officially to the constellation Andromeda. Andromeda, according to legend, should be chained to a rock. Instead she seems to have become chained to the horse: a double strand of stars – one strand bright, the other dim – connected to the upper left corner of the square.

About midway and above these star strands is the Andromeda Galaxy, one of the most amazing and fascinating of sky objects. It can be seen faintly with the unaided eye, but binoculars and small telescopes promise better viewing.

This sky map shows where to look to see the Andromeda Galaxy over the next week, though clear weather is vital to spot it.