Is Andromeda part of the Milky Way? Where can I find them in the sky? (Beginner)

Hi, my name is C---, and I am getting interested in astronomy. I have a question, are the stars in the constellation of Andromeda in our Milky Way galaxy or are they in the Andromeda galaxy? Also where do I need to look to see the Milky Way? I live in southern Tennessee.

The constellation Andromeda, like the other constellations, is made up of stars in our own Milky Way galaxy. The other galaxies are far enough away from us that we cannot see individual stars in them—they look like fuzzy patches of light on the sky, or even just bright spots like stars. In fact, the Andromeda Galaxy itself can be found in the constellation Andromeda. For more information about the constellation, its story, and the individual stars and objects that reside in it, follow the link above. This page has a nice map of the constellation as well.

To see the Milky Way, look for the constellation Sagittarius. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is located beyond it. To look up one of the galaxy's arms, the one the Sun is located in, look towards the constellation Cygnus. To look back down this arm, look towards Orion. If you want to know where in the sky these constellations will appear on a given day, there's an interesting Swiss website called Your Sky that will print out a sky map for any latitude and longitude at any given time. You can select a nearby city (like Nashville or Memphis) and it will print out a map of the sky for any day and time you want. Sagittarius is overhead during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere, and generally you need to be in a very dark place far from cities.

Good luck finding the Milky Way and I hope you continue to pursue your interest in Astronomy!

This page was last updated January 28, 2019.

About the Author

Cathy Jordan

Cathy got her Bachelors degree from Cornell in May 2003 and her Masters of Education in May 2005. She did research studying the wind patterns on Jupiter while at Cornell. She is now an 8th grade Earth Sciences teacher in Natick, MA.