Description Of Andromeda

Andromeda is one of the most famous constellations. Andromeda depicts the princess in Greek myth who was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster but was saved by the hero Perseus. The constellation contains the nearest major galaxy to us, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, which is the most distant object visible to the naked eye. In Chinese astronomy, the stars that make up Andromeda were members of four different constellations that had astrological and mythological significance; a constellation related to Andromeda also exists in Hindu mythology. Andromeda is the location of the radiant for the Andromedids, a weak meteor shower that occurs in November.

Points of Interest

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31)
 A spiral galaxy, similar to the Milky Way but larger. On a clear, dark night, it can be seen by the naked eye as an elongated smudge. With binoculars or a small telescope, it looks much larger, extending for several Moon diameters. Even so, this is only the central part of the galaxy, and a larger telescope is needed to see any trace of its spiral arms. Lying about 2.5 million light-years away, M31 is the largest galaxy in the Local Group. It has two small elliptical companion galaxies (the equivalent of our Magellanic Clouds), M32 and NGC 205 (or M110), which can be seen with a telescope with an aperture of 4 in (100 mm) or more.

NGC 752
 An open cluster, visible through binoculars, consisting of faint stars spread over an area of sky wider than the full Moon. It lies about 1,300 light-years away.

NGC 7662
 A planetary nebula, about 4,000 light-years away. It looks small but prominent through a telescope, like a blue-green star of 9th magnitude; high magnification reveals a rounded outline, like an out-of-focus star.

Gamma Andromadea
 One of the most attractive double stars in the sky. It appears to the naked eye as a single star of magnitude 2.1, but even a small telescope will reveal an orange-colored primary, which is a giant star, and a blue companion of 5th magnitude.