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Did you know that there is a constellation called Andromeda?
It is named after a princess in Greek mythology. Andromeda is one of the 88 constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union.
Andromeda was part of the original 48 constellations that were mapped by Ptolemy in the 2nd century CE. Historically, it was used by many cultures and is a part of myths and legends in several countries. It was in the 20th century that the sky was mapped out more efficiently using advanced technology. Andromeda then became part of the 88 constellations we know today.
This constellation is located in the northern sky and can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere from August to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, this constellation is harder to spot because it lies very close to the North Pole. However, it can be observed in the Southern Hemisphere during the short-range of October to December. This would require you to move away from the city lights and find a clear sky.
Andromeda includes a number of stars and galaxies, including the Andromeda galaxy. If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating constellation, keep reading.
Many people have heard of this constellation but don't know its story. Keep reading to learn more about this beautiful star pattern and what it represents.
This constellation lies north of the celestial equator and belongs to a group of constellations that include Perseus, Cassiopeia, and Cepheus. Andromeda has its origins rooted in the Greek mythology. This constellation is named after Andromeda, a princess from Greek mythology. Princess Andromeda was the daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia of Aethiopia. Cassiopeia would always boast about her daughter's beauty and stated that she was prettier than nereids or sea nymphs. Poseidon, the Greek god of Sea, took offence to this and sent the sea monster Cetus to attack Aethiopia.
Panicked by the threat to his kingdom, her father, Cepheus, consulted the oracle of Ammon and was instructed to sacrifice the princess as a peace offering. Thus, Cepheus and Cassiopeia chained their daughter to a rock in the middle of the sea as an offering to the sea monster. However, the Greek hero Perseus rescued the princess and later married her. It is believed that Athena, the Greek goddess of Wisdom and Warfare, placed princess Andromeda in the sky as a constellation to honor her after she had passed. This is the legend associated with the origin of the constellation Andromeda.
Andromeda is part of a group of constellations called the Perseus group. The nearby constellations are also named after figures from the Perseus myth. Apart from Greek myths, this constellation also has connotations to other legends from different cultures. Traditionally, Chinese astronomers would combine seven stars from Pisces with nine stars from Andromeda, creating an elliptical constellation known as 'Legs'. Parts of modern Andromeda have appeared in Babylonian astronomy too. Ancient Babylonians had a constellation for a fertility goddess known as 'Anunitum', which was comprised of stars from Pisces and Andromeda.
The constellation Andromeda is one of the most interesting constellations in the night sky. It is home to many amazing astronomical objects, including the most interesting object in all of Andromeda. What is this object? Keep reading to find out.
The most notable deep space object in the Andromeda constellation is the Andromeda galaxy. The Andromeda galaxy, or Messier 31 (M31), is believed to be the largest galaxy in proximity to our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The Andromeda galaxy is a spiral galaxy and is the most visible object in the Andromeda constellation. It includes many galaxies and has abundant stars. The Andromeda galaxy is also known as the Great Galaxy of Andromeda. The name originates from its positioning in the Earth's night sky. This spiral galaxy is much larger than the Milky Way, which is also a spiral galaxy. In fact, the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy make up the largest members of the 'Local Group'.
The Local Group is a group of galaxies, mainly made up of minor galaxies known as dwarf galaxies. Just like the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy has a set of its own satellite galaxies. The Andromeda galaxy has around 20 known satellite galaxies, which are dwarf galaxies within a galaxy. M110, M32, and the distant NGC 891 are some of the dwarf galaxies in the Andromeda galaxy. M32 is an elliptical galaxy, and NGC 891 is a dwarf spiral galaxy. M110 is a lot less prominent in the sky and is usually described as a generic elliptical galaxy. Messier 32, or M32, was discovered by French astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil in 1749. Later, research found that this dwarf elliptical galaxy was actually closer to Earth than Andromeda itself.
Apart from these, the Andromeda galaxy has more than a trillion stars and numerous clusters of dwarf galaxies. Some of the other galaxies in Andromeda are NGC 90 (spiral galaxy), NGC 93 (spiral galaxy), and NGC 404 (lenticular galaxy). This spiral galaxy is about 2.5 million light-years away from our own. Scientists believe that these two spiral galaxies will collide to create a giant elliptical galaxy a few billion years from now.
Did you know that Andromeda is home to some of the biggest and brightest stars in the night sky? Read on to learn more about the major stars in this constellation, including the bright stars Alpheratz and Mirach.
The Andromeda constellation has several stars. The major stars are named after mythological figures from Greek stories. The major stars are Alpheratz (Alpha Andromedae), Mirach (Beta Andromedae), Almach (Gamma Andromedae), and some others, like Delta Andromedae, Iota Andromedae, and Upsilon Andromedae. Also known as 'Sirrah', Alpheratz is the brightest star in the constellation. This star is around 97 light-years away from the solar system. Alpheratz is a binary star, which means it is made up of two stars that orbit around each other to create a binary system. This star is unique as it is the brightest known mercury-manganese binary star formation, about 200 times more luminous than the sun. The double star has a visual magnitude of 2.07.
The stars orbit around each other for approximately 100 days. The brighter companion star in Alpheratz is much larger and brighter than the sun. Alpheratz is located in the upper left corner of the Great Square of Pegasus and was once considered a part of the Pegasus constellation. In Arabic, 'Alpheratz' is the term for the naval of a horse. However, according to the Andromeda myth, it refers to the head of the princess. The red giant Mirach is the brightest star after Alpheratz in Andromeda. It is so bright that you could spot it with the naked eye. Mirach is roughly 200 light-years away from the solar system and is the 55th brightest star that can be spotted in the night sky. Although it is a red giant, Mirach is not large enough to end as a supernova. It is most likely to end up as a white dwarf.
The third brightest star in the constellation is Almach or Gamma Andromedae. This star is located at a distance of 350 light-years from our solar system. Almach consists of three stars. The primary star in Almach's system is about 80 times the size of the sun. Delta Andromedae is a double star and is located around 101 light-years away from the solar system. This binary star is made up of a bright K-type giant and a dim white dwarf. Together, these stars and other objects in the constellation form the shape of a 'V'. Although they look like they're close together in the sky, they're actually quite far apart from each other. Alpheratz is the closest to Earth at 97 light-years away. Mirach and Almach are at around 200 and 350 light-years away, respectively.
Most people know about the Perseid meteor shower that happens in August, but did you know that there are other meteor showers throughout the year? For example, the Andromeda constellation produces meteors all year round.
The major meteors associated with this constellation are the Andromedids, which originally came from the constellation of Cassiopeia. The radiant point for the Andromeda constellation's meteor shower was located in Cassiopeia sometime during the 19th century. This was before the Biela Comet split up. Since then, they have shifted to the Andromeda constellation, hence the name 'Andromedids'.
This shower occurs during the period from the end of September to the beginning of December and peaks in early November. Historically, Andromedids were first spotted over St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 6, 1741. In the years 1798, 1825, 1830, 1838, and 1847, extremely strong showers could be observed from the Earth. In 1872 and 1885, the Andromedid shower produced a display of thousands of meteors per hour.
The people of Burma took the meteor shower of 1885 as an omen, and their belief was solidified when the Konbaung empire fell, and the British took over. Over the centuries, the Andromedids have faded dramatically. Today, these meteors are barely visible compared to their activity in the past. Presently, the Andromedids have a peak of fewer than three meteors per hour and only occur during mid-November.
The Andromeda constellation is home to a number of deep space objects. Though they may be difficult to spot with the naked eye, these fascinating objects are worth looking for. Read on for a quick list of notable deep space objects in Andromeda.
The Andromeda constellation is located far away from the galactic plane, which contains a lot of dust and gas. Due to this, there are many clearly visible objects in the constellation, ranging from galaxies to stars. The most striking deep space object in Andromeda is obviously the Andromeda galaxy. The Andromeda galaxy is not just our closest neighbor but also the most distant space object that can be detected with the naked eye from Earth. The reason you can spot the Andromeda galaxy without optical equipment is that it is very bright as it has a visual magnitude of 3.4.
Andromeda is much bigger than the Milky Way and has more stars. The Milky Way has around 400 billion stars, whereas the Andromeda galaxy has around one trillion stars. The NGC 752 or Caldwell 28 is the most famous open cluster in the constellation. This globular cluster has a magnitude of 5.7. This cluster has around 12 bright, visible stars and more than 60 stars that can be observed through a telescope.
Another notable object in the constellation is the planetary nebula NGC 7662 or Caldwell 22, popularly known as the Blue Snowball Nebula. The Blue Snowball Nebula is seen a degree to the west of Kappa Andromedae and around three degrees to the southeast of Iota Andromedae. This planetary nebula lies approximately at a distance of 4,000 light-years from Earth. The reason it is called the Blue Snowball Nebula is because of its appearance. If you view this nebula through a telescope, it would look like a faint, blue-green object. Andromeda is one of the largest constellations in the sky. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, there are good chances you might catch a glimpse of these objects in the sky.
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