Constellation Andromeda (Chained Maiden)

Andromeda: IAU Constellation Map [150]

Properties

The constellation Andromeda shares a common star with Pegasus: α Andromedae (Alpheratz, also Sirrah) is also the star in the northeast corner of the well-known large rectangle of Pegasus. In older atlases one can still find the designation δ Pegasi for the same star. In the meantime, however, it has been agreed that Alpheratz will officially be included in the Andromeda constellation. [20]

The main part of Andromeda extends east from Pegasus so it follows it due to the movement of the sky. Immediately afterwards it is followed by the constellation Perseus, which connects to the east of Andromeda. Andromeda is very close to Cassiopeia, to the north of it.Andromeda is separated from Cepheus by Lacerta. On clear, dark nights, the Andromeda Galaxy can be observed with the naked eye. The constellation Andromeda covers an area of ​​722 square degrees. The center culminates at midnight on around September 30th. [9, 15]

Stars with Proper Names [154]
α AndAlpheratz, Alpherat, Sirrah, Sirah
β AndMirach, Merach, Mirac, Mirak, (Al Mizar)
γ1 AndAlmaak, Almach, Alamak, Almak, Almaach
ξ AndAdhil
Data for constellation Andromeda [150]
IAU NameAndromeda
IAU GenitiveAndromedae
IAU Abbr.And
English NameChained Maiden
Season (47° N)June … February
Right Ascension22h 57m 22s … 02h 39m 33s
Declination+21° 40' 36" … +53° 11' 13"
Area722 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)Cas, Lac, Peg, Psc, Tri, Per

Deep-Sky Object Descriptions

Catalogues

Mythology and History

Andromeda was the daughter of the Ethiopian king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia. When Cassiopeia boasted that hers and her daughter's beauty was greater than that of the nymphs in the sea, Poseidon, god of the oceans, sent the mighty whale Cetus to destroy the Ethiopian coast. The only way to appease the monster was to sacrifice the lovely daughter Andromeda to him. After her parents fought desperately, they eventually chained her to a rock by the sea.

Constellation Andromeda: Illustration from «Uranometria» by Johann Bayer, copper engraving by Alexander Mair, 1603 [28]

Fortunately, just at that moment, the great hero Perseus came along. He fell in love with the beautiful Andromeda, who was almost naked, adorned only with a few jewels and chained to the rock. Perseus requested both Andromeda's hand in marriage from King Cepheus and a kingdom of his own as a reward for rescuing her. Fearing for his daughter's life, he agreed. Perseus then put on his winged shoes and hurried through the air towards the sea monster. All his actions were intended to capture the attention of the girl. Therefore, he carried out the liberation as noisily and sensationally as possible, armed only with the scimitar in his muscular arm. He could also have defeated the monster with the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa, which he carried with him, but that did not seem appropriate to the situation. [20] However, a more common variant suggests that he used the head of Medusa to petrify the sea monster. [66]

Perseus and Andromeda married and happily lived a long life. It is said that the gods were so satisfied that they gave the main characters of this drama a place among the stars.

In 1627 the Catholic Church tried unsuccessfully to Christianize the «heretical constellations», which had been known for centuries, even millennia, and to transform them into figures from the Christian world of faith. The constellation of Andromeda became «Sepulchrum Christi» (tomb of Christ). [20, 84]

References

  • [9] «Drehbare Sternkarte SIRIUS» von H. Suter-Haug; Hallwag-Verlag, Bern
  • [15] «Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes» by David Malin and David J. Frew; Melbourne University Press 1995; ISBN 0-522-84553-3
  • [20] «Sternbilder und ihre Mythen» von Gerhard Fasching; Zweite, verbesserte Auflage; Springer Verlag Wien, New York; ISBN 3-211-82552-5 (Wien); ISBN 0-387-82552-5 (New York)
  • [28] «Uranometria omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata aereis laminis expressa» Johann Bayer, Augsburg, 1603; DOI:10.3931/e-rara-309
  • [66] The Starry Sky: Perseus by Deborah Byrd; Astronomy 2/94, p.52
  • [84] The Starry Sky: Andromeda by Deborah Byrd; Astronomy 11/95, p.69
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020; iau.org/public/themes/constellations
  • [154] Yale Bright Star Catalog, 15. Oktober 2020; tdc-www.harvard.edu/catalogs/bsc5.html