Follow this link to skip to the main content

The Hidden Lives of Galaxies - Autumn Seasonal Guide Posts

Autumn Seasonal Guide Posts: For Naked Eye/Binoculars (~ 9 p.m.)

Object

Constellation

Type

Polaris

Ursa Minor

Star

Big Dipper

Ursa Major

Asterism

Altair

Aquila

Star

Vega

Lyra

Star

Deneb

Cygnus

Star

Great Square

Pegasus

Asterism

Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia

Constellation

Pleiades

Taurus

Open cluster

Capella

Auriga

Star

Andromeda (M31)

Andromeda

Spiral Galaxy

Looking due north, about half-way up from the horizon will be a bright star, Polaris, the North Star. The Big Dipper can be hard to find in Autumn because it lies along the northern horizon. Now look to the south and west of Polaris. There you will see the 3 bright stars of the summer triangle slowly setting. Altair is to the south; the brilliant star nearest to the horizon is Vega; and a bit higher overhead is Deneb. Deneb is at the top of a collection of stars in the form of a cross. The cross is between Vega and Altair, standing almost upright this time of year. High overhead are the 4 stars of the Great Square. Although they’re not particularly brilliant, they stand out because they are brighter than any other stars near them. After you have found the Great Square, look north. You’ll see the 5 main stars of Cassiopeia making a bright "W" shape or an "M" depending on the way that you’re turned around. To the east you’ll see a small cluster of stars called the Pleiades. North of the Pleiades, the brilliant Cappella rises. --- Now to find the Andromeda Galaxy, locate the Great Square overhead. Between Cassiopeia and the Great Square is the constellation Andromeda. From the northeast corner, find 3 bright stars in a long line, arcing across the sky west to east, just south of Cassiopeia. From the middle of these 3 stars go north towards Cassiopeia past 1 star to a second star, in a slightly curving line. The galaxy is just barely visible to the naked eye.




 

A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Goddard