The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest major galaxy to the Milky Way and by far the easiest galaxy to find in the sky. It is so “bright” compared to all of the other galaxies that it can be seen with your eyes under a dark sky. In fact, it is the farthest object the human eye can see. Fall / early Winter is a great time to look for this galaxy as it is well placed in the evening sky. Find it is as easy as 1,2,3. A pair of binoculars or a small telescope can help you spot it, especially if you live under light polluted skies.
The first step is to locate the Great Square of Pegasus. It is a prominent “square” of stars high in the east by mid to late evening. You can also use the ‘W’ of Cassiopeia to help you locate it. The bottom left star of the “square” is 1 star. Below that you’ll see 2 stars and below that you’ll see a line of 3 stars. Once you’ve found the row of three stars the galaxy is just above the top or faintest of the three.
That’s it. Find the “square”. Come down 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars and then look just above the faintest of the 3 stars.
Here are some star maps to help you. Click on each image for a larger view.