Andromeda the Constellation: Facts
1. Symbolism: Chained Maiden, Princess of Ethiopia
2. Right ascension: 1 hour
3. Declination: 40 degrees
4. Latitudes visible at: between 90 and -40 degrees
5. The best time to view: November 21:00 PM (9:00 PM)
6. Area of sky: 722 square degrees
7. Nearest star: Ross 248 (Ross 248 is 10.32 light years away)
8. Brightest star: Alpheratz (visual magnitude of 2.06)
9. Stars in the constellation: Alpheratz (Alpha Andromeda), Mirach (Beta Andromeda), Almach (Gamma 1 Andromeda), Adhil (Xi Andromeda)
10. Other objects in the constellation: The Andromeda galaxy (M31), the Triangulum galaxy (M33), M32 and M110 (both are satellite galaxies of the Andromeda galaxy).
11: Meteor showers: The Andromedids (some meteor shower activity is still seen in mid-November each year).
12. Mythology: In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the princess of Ethiopia. She was the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, rulers of Ethiopia. The Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, unleashed a sea monster (probably a Cetus) to teach the boastful Cassiopeia a lesson. The only way to stop the monster from destroying Ethiopia was to sacrifice Andromeda’s life. She was chained to the rock by the sea, but later rescued by Perseus. Perseus killed the monster and married Andromeda. Their child, Perses, was the ancestor of the Persian Kings. Andromeda is hailed as one of the most daring mythical heroines.
13. History Behind the Constellation Andromeda: The Andromeda constellation is included in the ancient star catalogs of Ptolemy, Aratos of Soli and Eudoxos of Knidos. The M31 Andromeda galaxy is the most illustrious deep sky object in the Andromeda constellation. It is a spiral galaxy, just like the Milky Way. It was first observed by Al-Sufi in 964 AD. He described it as a “little cloud." In 1612, it was observed through a telescope by Simon Marius. Early viewers, like Christiaan Huygens, considered the galaxy a hole in the heavens and never imagined it to be a star system. In the 1920s Edwin Hubble came to the conclusion that the galaxy was beyond the Milky Way when he identified the Cepheid variable stars in the constellation, using a 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson.
[Image Top Right: Photo Credit: Torsten Bronger http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Andromeda_constellation_map.png]