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See Andromeda galaxy tonight. Moon and Spica before dawn

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Tonight for November 18, 2014

November 2013 guide to the five visible planets

The Andromeda galaxy is out all night long at this time of year. However, to see the close pairing ot the moon and the star Spica, you’ll have to get up before dawn on Wednesday, November 19.

See the close pairing of the waning crescent moon and the star Spica before dawn on Wednesday, November 19.

See the close pairing of the waning crescent moon and the star Spica before dawn on Wednesday, November 19.

You can see the Andromeda galaxy at this time of year … simply by looking eastward at nightfall. By mid-evening, this galaxy will climb almost straight overhead, so you might want to enjoy the comfort of a reclining lawn chair for viewing this deep-sky treasure.

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This neighboring spiral galaxy appears in our sky as a large hazy patch – bigger than a full moon. It’s very noticeable in a star-filled sky, far from city lights, on a night when the moon is down.

More about M31: Great galaxy in Andromeda

If you need some help finding the Andromeda galaxy, there are a couple of different ways to use neighboring constellations to find it.


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One way to find the galaxy is by finding the Great Square in the constellation Pegasus. The Great Square consists of a large square pattern of stars in the east at nightfall. By mid-evening, the Great Square swings way up high in your southern sky. Extending from the Square, you’ll find two graceful streams of stars – another constellation, Andromeda. I learned to find the Andromeda galaxy by “star-hopping” from the star Alpheratz in Great Square to the two stars marked here – first Mirach, then Mu Andromedae. An imaginary line drawn through these two stars points to the Andromeda galaxy. If you can’t see the Andromeda galaxy with the unaided eye, try binoculars.

Mirach: Guide star to three galaxies

But I said there were a couple of ways to use neighboring constellations to find the Andromeda galaxy. You can also find this wonderful galaxy using the constellation Cassiopeia.

Use constellation Cassiopeia to find Andromeda galaxy