THE BIG SKY

Canal Boat - - Boaters Break - with Seb Jay

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!

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