The Andromeda Galaxy

  • Carl Crum ’24

Although situated 2 million light years away, the Andromeda Galaxy is nonetheless visible to the unaided eye when seen from a dark sky site, which makes it the farthest space object observable without a telescope. According to Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of King Cephus and Queen Cassiopeia of Ethiopia. When Queen Cassiopeia offended the Nereids (sea nymphs) by claiming she was more beautiful than them, the nymphs complained to Poseiden, who sent the sea monster Cetus to decimate her lands as punishment. To end the conflict, King Cephus offered princess Andromeda as a sacrifice to the beast. However, before Cetus could take her, Andromeda was rescued by the legendary hero Perseus, whom she later married and had several children with. In the night sky, the constellations Cassiopeia, Andromeda, and Perseus lay beside each other, immortalized by the stars.

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