THE hunt is on to find Andromeda, one of our closest neighbouring galaxies.
As the nights draw in, people are being asked to become ‘citizen scientists’ and use the galaxy, found in the constellation of a mythological princess, to measure the quality of the night skies in the South Downs National Park.
In Greek mythology, Andromeda, the daughter of Queen Casseopeia, was chained to a rock to be sacrificed to a sea monster as a punishment for her mother’s vanity, but saved by the hero Perseus.
The South Downs National Park needs to know where and when the galaxy named after her is visible to the naked eye, as well as where the orange glow of light pollution blocks her from sight.
This will provide vital evidence about the quality of the South Downs’ night skies and whether it might be possible to gain Dark Sky status in the future.
Dan Oakley, South Downs National Park ranger and keen amateur astronomer, said: “You should be able to spot her as a faint hazy galaxy within the Andromeda constellation to the top left of the square of Pegasus.
Results should be submitted at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SDNPA-Andromeda stating if you could see the Andromeda Galaxy, the date and time you looked and the postcode and location of where you were.