THE BIG SKY

Canal Boat - - Boater’s Break - WITH SEB JAY

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

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