THE BIG SKY
A PRINCESS IN peril and her daring rescue are played out in the stars above your boat this autumn. It’s an enduring tale from Ancient Greece. Beautiful Andromeda, the daughter of Queen Cassiopeia, is chained to a rock as atonement for her mother’s sins. Cetus the sea monster approaches, yet disaster is averted when Andromeda is rescued by Perseus on his winged horse Pegasus.
To find our celestial storyboard look high to your north-east for a ‘W’ pattern of stars. This is Cassiopeia. Below Cassiopeia look for Perseus - an inverted ‘Y’ pattern of stars heading down towards the horizon. From the brightest star in Perseus follow an arc of bright stars that curve across the sky to your right joining a large square pattern of stars high towards the south.
The two brightest stars along the arc between Perseus and the square represent Andromeda, while the square itself forms the body of Pegasus. From our viewpoint Pegasus is upside down. To trace out the horse’s neck, head and eye follow a crooked line of stars westwards from the lower right star in the square. The sea monster lurks low to the south as a large sprawl of fainter stars.
Stories from Ancient Greece are laid out in the autumn night sky. Photo: Seb Jay