Messier 31 (M 31) - Andromeda Galaxy

Introduction | Map | Sketch | My Own Observations | References

On this page I collect my observations of the Andromeda galaxy M 31 in the constellation Andromeda.

 

Introduction

The Andromeda galaxy M 31 in constellation Andromeda (but it rather is located between the constellation of Andromeda and Cassiopeia), is our neighboring galaxy and about 2.5 million light years away from us. Because it can be seen with the naked eye under good conditions (in which I have never succeeded yet), it is the most remote sky object that we can see with the naked eye. It can be seen in binoculars and in small telescopes as a diffuse shimmering elongated oval - and I have not been able to detect any details yet, although one should actually recognize the two small galaxies M 32 (like a star) and M 110 in a small telescope. In other words, light pollution is quite high in Mühlhausen / Kraichgau ...

Size: 3° x 1° (Stoyan)
Distance: 2.5 million light years
Rating: ***** (Stoyan)

 

Map

M 31 between Andromeda and Cassiopeia

Overview map: Andromeda Galaxy M 31 and Perseus Double Cluster NGC 884/869

 

Sketch

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I observed (my impression was much fainter than the sketch):

Sketch of the Andromeda Galaxy by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016) - presented with the author's permission

 

My Own Observations

Observations Summer to Autumn 2016

Observed at the beginning of September in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: Sep 3 with Heritage 100P, Sep 6 with GoTo and Heritage 100P, and Sep 9 with GoTo and Heritage P130: Diffuse glow, no details.

Observed at the end of September, beginning of October in France (Sumène, Haute Loire): Observed with Heritage 100P in various magnifications, no details

Observations February/March 2017

After I had searched on the balcony for Praesepe with the binoculars on the second day, I just looked into the other direction, that is, to the west, to see whether I would not "stumble" over the Andromeda Galaxy M 31. I know more or less where it is in the sky, and in February, where the Andromeda is oriented vertically, the galaxy should be particularly easy to find (with binoculars because of the large section of the sky that they show...). And so it was! Since it was still quite bright in the west, the impression that the galaxy made in the binoculars was not overwhelming, but the galaxy was recognizable without any doubts. With the GSD 680 (8 "Dobsonian) on the terrace, I was unfortunately not able to find the galaxy (with the binoculars I was able to find it from there, too...). I had trouble to orient myself with the LED finder in this sky region, because the weak stars in the respective region were hardly or not at all visible in the finder.

On the third day, when I used the Heritage 100P on the GoTo mount, I found M 31, of course, but the galaxy was only faint; the same applied to my binoculars. Obviously, the sky in the west was still too bright...

On February 18, I looked for M 31 using the GSD 680 for a second time, found it this time, and was able to see the galaxy well, but not in detail. The same applies more or less to the Heritage P130 on the GoTo mount (February, 26, new moon).

 

References

On this Site