andromeda

Andromeda

By Jake Riley, SR Senior Editor

Fun Facts

1. The Andromeda galaxy is the furthest astral object visibly by the naked eye
2. The Andromeda galaxy is also orbited by several smaller galaxies
3. Its brightest star, Alpheratz, also forms part of the square of Pegasus
4. The constellation is part of the Perseus group of constellations
5. There is a meteor shower that seemingly emanates from the constellation, that is thereby named as the Andromedids meteor shower

An overview

The constellation of Andromeda makes up the shape of a letter ‘A’, where the tip of the patter is said to represent Andromeda’s head. The constellation consists of 16 main stars, with the brightest being Alpharetz, a binary system with the primary component of a blue star three times larger than our sun and twice as hot.

The constellation is one of the ancient constellations catalogued by Ptolemy, and is visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres. It can be seen from the months of August to February in the former, and from October to December in the latter.

The myth

In Greek mythology, there was a King and Queen who wanted to sacrifice their daughter to a sea monster to appease the great Poseidon’s wrath which was brought about by the Queen’s vanity.

However, the hero, Perseus, saved the princess from her cruel fate; this princess’ name was Andromeda. The two of them had gotten married shortly after what had transpired, and settled down in Perseus’ homeland.

They had nine children together, and lived happy lives. When Andromeda passed away, the gods placed her in the heavens alongside Perseus, and her mother, Cassiopeia, thereby birthing the constellation of Andromeda.

The constellation

The constellation of Andromeda is situated in the northern sky’s first quadrant, and is visible between latitudes -40 to +90 degrees. It neighbors the constellations of Cassiopeia, Lacerta, Pegasus, Perseus, Pisces, and Triangulum.

Of the 16 main stars it consists, there exists four celestial bodies of note: Almach, a triple-star system with its primary star being an orange giant 80 times larger than our sun; Mirach, a red giant 200 lightyears from earth; Alpheratz, the brightest star of the constellation which is also considered as part of The constellation of Pegasus; and M31, which is otherwise known as the Andromeda Galaxy that lies 2.5 million lightyears away.

Want to learn about other constellations aside from Andromeda? Find out more about Cepheus or Coma Berenices. Alternatively, you can simply click here for a full list of constellations.

Frequently Asked Questions

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