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The constellation Andromeda the Chained Lady

The W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia factors to the celebs of the constellation Andromeda, with the spiral galaxy contained in the border of Andromeda.

The constellation Andromeda is called for the daughter of Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus of Greek mythology. Andromeda has the nickname of the Chained Lady as a result of her mother and father chained her up and supplied her as a sacrifice to appease the ocean monster Cetus. In the story, she is saved by Perseus and ultimately turns into his queen. All these mythological characters are actually seen as constellations within the night time sky.

How to search out the constellation Andromeda

Andromeda is simple to search out due to the corporate it retains. The W-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia factors towards Andromeda. Andromeda can also be subsequent to the Great Square of Pegasus. In reality, one of many stars of the Great Square truly belongs to Andromeda.

November is a wonderful month to attempt to spot Andromeda the Chained Lady. Look east after it will get darkish to search out the constellation already excessive above the horizon. Andromeda favors viewers within the Northern Hemisphere; it isn’t seen to these south of 40 levels south latitude. The constellation is the nineteenth largest, in measurement, of the 88 constellations. The finder charts right here can information you to it.

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Andromeda and surrounding constellations.
View larger. | Andromeda the Chained Lady lies close to her mother and father, Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus. She additionally contributes one star to the Great Square of Pegasus. Image by way of Stellarium.
Constellation Andromeda stars and outline behind rooftop.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Prateek Pandey in Bhopal, India, captured this photograph of the constellation Andromeda on October 8, 2021. He wrote: “Andromeda Constellation. The 19th largest constellation in the sky, most prominent during autumn evenings, is located in the first quadrant of the northern hemisphere. Its most notable feature is the great Andromeda Galaxy, one of the nearest galaxies to Earth and one of the few galaxies visible to the unaided eye.” Thank you, Prateek!

Stars of the constellation Andromeda

The brightest star within the Great Square of Pegasus truly belongs to Andromeda: the magnitude 2.06 star Alpheratz. Alpheratz lies 97 light-years away. Another magnitude 2.06 star, Mirach, lies to the higher left of Alpheratz. Mirach lies 197 light-years away and is the closest brilliant star to the Andromeda Galaxy. The third brightest star in Andromeda is magnitude 2.1 Almach, to the higher left of Mirach. Almach lies 354 light-years away.

Andromeda galaxy shown as a large glowing oblong galaxy in the upper right corner, reddish star at center, hazy patch bottom left.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Soumyadeep Mukherjee in Kolkata, India, captured this photograph of the constellation Andromeda with the galaxy and crimson star Mirach on September 30, 2021. He wrote: “The image contains at least 4 observable galaxies: M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) at the top-right corner, M33 (Triangulum Galaxy) at the bottom-left corner, M32 and M110 (both near the Andromeda Galaxy). Along with that, we also have an open cluster NGC 752/Caldwell 28 at the top-left corner. At the middle of the image, it is the red giant Mirach!” Thank you, Soumyadeep!

Finding the Andromeda Galaxy

Although M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, is centrally situated within the constellation Andromeda, it’s truly simpler to search out by utilizing the celebs of Cassiopeia. The magnitude 3.5 galaxy could be seen as a hazy patch in a darkish sky, however most individuals will want binoculars or a telescope to search out the extensive misty patch.

Andromeda stretches about three degrees throughout and one diploma extensive. It lies at a distance of roughly 2.5 million light-years from Earth, which signifies that as we view the sunshine from Andromeda, we’re seeing it because it was 2.5 million years in the past.

To discover the Andromeda Galaxy, search for the W form of Cassiopeia. With the 2 V shapes that make up the W, use the V form on the precise. Imagine the V as an arrow, pointing into the constellation Andromeda. From the tip of the arrow star to the spiral galaxy, the angular distance is a bit over 15 levels. (Hold your hand at arm’s size and use your index finger and pinky unfold aside to measure 15 levels on the sky’s dome.) The arrow of Cassiopeia doesn’t level exactly to Andromeda: You must look a bit to the precise to search out the galaxy M31.

To use a star from Andromeda to search out the galaxy, begin with the star that’s related to the Great Square of Pegasus. Then look left and discover three stars main away from it: a third magnitude star (Delta Andromedae), Mirach and Almach. Focus on Mirach, after which look above Mirach. There are two stars in a line above it, the highest one dimmer than the underside. If you may see the best star with out optical help, look simply to its proper for a barely lighter patch of sky. Put your binoculars or a telescope on it to substantiate that you just’ve discovered Andromeda.

Observing M31, the Andromeda Galaxy

M31, at magnitude 3.5, ought to be straightforward to see after you have it situated in your binoculars or telescope. The grayish patch ought to present an oval form, attribute of spiral galaxies. Two different Messier objects are inside your discipline of view if you find yourself taking a look at Andromeda. M32 and M110 and elliptical galaxies which might be companions to the massive Andromeda Galaxy. They additionally lie 2.5 million light-years away. M32 is magnitude 8.1 and is closest to the galaxy, showing to lie on the bigger spiral’s edge. M110 is magnitude 8.5 and is a bit farther away from the massive spiral.

Large spiral galaxy with dust clouds in rings and bright satellite galaxies.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Basudeb Chakrabarti in Kolkata, India, captured this photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy on October 6, 2021, and wrote: “The Andromeda Galaxy is the most distant object that unaided human eyes can see from Earth. I have captured this image from a heavily light-polluted area (Bortle 9 sky). We can also see two satellite galaxies (M32 & M110) of M31 in this image.” Thank you, Basudeb!

Bottom line: The constellation Andromeda the Chained Lady is most well-known for holding the closest massive spiral galaxy to the Milky Way.

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