Stargazing How does Andromeda look from just a set of 10x50 binoculars.

  1. Tonight was an amazing night for stargazing so I drove about 10 minutes to a nice countryside road with barely any lights.

    It was really dark, and you could see a faint glow of the milky way. I had some apps to help me locate various galaxies and etc. and I wanted to see Andromeda but I couldn't find it anywhere. I even poinited them right where the apps told me it would be.

    I know what andromeda looks like from pictures, but I obviously won't have the same view as those Nasa pictures, so I'm just trying to get a general idea of what I'm looking at, so I know for a fact it's what I saw.

    Tonight, I'm pretty sure I found it, but again, I didn't know what it would look like so I couldn't tell if it was it.
  2. jcsd
  3. For a beginner it mostly looks like a grey oval, brighter in the middle. With practice one can probably see a few more details.

    Last year I took an image of the area around the Andromeda galaxy that includes the star Mirach (lower left corner - big, bright and orange). It's a 90 min exposure so it's much deeper than any visual telescope but it might help. When i find M31, I start at Mirach and follow the two fainter stars "above" it (1 o'clock in the image) to the galaxy.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  4. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Like practically all deep sky objects that are not stars, Andromeda will look like a "fuzzy blob" of varying brightness depending on what you are looking at it through. It will be very dim, but if you are in a decent dark sky location then it will stand out quite obviously from the background. You won't be able to make out any detail though, it will literally look like a fuzzy blob.

    Edit: Nice picture Glappkaeft. I need to get a smaller focal length telescope, all mine have focal lengths beyond 1,000 mm, so I can't fit Andromeda in my camera's field of view.
  5. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    Perhaps this picture will tell you more or less of what to expect:


    (Not because it is good, quite the opposite. But as far as I remember it more or less reflects the blurry and hard to spot spot; just remember sky will be MUCH darker.)
  6. PhysicoRaj

    PhysicoRaj 430
    Gold Member

    BoreK, did you get that shot by yourself? What did you use?
  7. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    EOS 7D, but any reasonably good SLR camera will do. ISO 1600, 30 sec, f 2.8, 55 mm.

    Non-SLR camera with similar parameters should work as well.
  8. davenn

    davenn 4,353
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2014 Award

    Indeed !!
    sweet pic, well done
    gosh, I haven't seen M31 for years

  9. PhysicoRaj

    PhysicoRaj 430
    Gold Member

    You say this is how a 10x50 shows? Well, that's even better than my 60mm 35x refractor!
  10. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    Never said that, no idea how to compare these things. All I was trying to show was what to look for and what to expect in the sky. Most photos of M31 are way too good when compared to the real thing.
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