Asked by Lori Blandford
Andromeda can be difficult to observe in detail because of its large size in the sky. In fact, if you want to observe Andromeda in its entirety, a low-power, wide-angle eyepiece is best. You can actually get some fairly good views with a very good pair of large lens binoculars.
Generally, refracting telescopes are very good for planetary observation, and reflecting telescopes tend to be better for deep sky astronomy. Remember that the amount of light a telescope can collect will increase the amount of detail you can see, so wider aperture telescopes are theoretically better for observing the Andromeda galaxy. However, the bigger telescopes can begin to get quite costly and can be difficult to transport.
A five-inch Dobsonian telescope will (on a clear night well away from light pollution) provide enough detail to begin to make out the spiral arms, but we’ll never get the same amazing images we see from space observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope.
Answered by Sophie Allen from the National Space Centre
Image Credit: Adam Evans