THE BIG SKY
The stars in our night sky tell us stories. Look high up to your north-east for a giant ‘W’ pattern. This is the constellation of Cassiopeia. In Greek mythology she is a queen – a vain queen who cared little for her husband King Cepheus and daughter Andromeda.
It was mighty Zeus who was to put Cassiopeia in her place – by sacrificing Andromeda to a sea monster! As the tale goes Perseus, son of Zeus and slayer of Medusa, rode his winged horse Pegasus to rescue Andromeda, using Medusa’s head to turn their enemies to stone.
You’ll see Perseus as an upside down ‘V’ pattern of stars trailing down to the horizon beneath Cassiopeia. From the brightest star in Perseus trace a line eastwards to see four bright stars arching across the sky, the last two forming a giant square pattern. The square is part of Pegasus, our winged horse. The two bright stars between Pegasus and Perseus represent Andromeda.
If you’ve keen eyesight you’ll notice a small smudge of light a little way above that second star on the right in Andromeda. Catch it and you’ll be seeing the aggregated starlight from a trillion stars that make up the Andromeda Galaxy!