|The farthest object in the sky visible to the naked eye is the famous Andromeda spiral galaxy. It is very similar to our own milky way in size and structure. It usually appears as a hazy glow and is know as M-31. The head of Andromeda is shared with one of the corners of the “Great Square” of the constellation Pegasus. It is a 2.2 magnitude and name “Alpheratz” or “Horse Navel.” The second brightest star in the group is Mirach, meaning waist or girdle. Mirach is a Yellow 2.3 magnitude star. Andromeda is best viewed in autumn and early winter.
The daughter of Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and Cassiopeia, Andromeda was promised in marriage to her uncle, Phineus. Meanwhile, Neptune drowned the kingdom and sent a sea monster to salvage the country to appease the resentment of his favorite nymphs against Cassiopeia. The nymphs, numbering over fifty, resented the queen because she boasted that she was fairer than Juno and the Nereides, as sea nymphs were called.
The oracle of Jupiter, Ammon, was consulted. He said nothing could pacify the anger of Neptune unless the beautiful Andromeda should be exposed to the sea monster. Accordingly, Andromeda was chained to a rock.
All of this happened near Joppa (probably now Jaffa in Syria). Anyway, the minute the monster saw her, he knew he was onto a good thing and went for her. That’s when Perseus, who was returning through the air from the conquest of the Gorgons, saw her. Thinking that the monster had ideas outside the ordinary course of monsters, Perseus made his own move on her. As the eminent mythologist, Phineus Malone, put it:
“Chained to a rock she stay’d
His rapid flight, to woo the beauteous maid.”
Perseus promised to deliver her and destroy the monster if Cepheus would give him her hand in marriage. Cepheus consented and Perseus changed the sea monster into a rock by showing him Medusa’s head, which he held up triumphantly. The jealous, enraged Phineus, who had been betrothed to Andromeda, started a violent battle in which he, too, was turned into a rock by the petrifying influence of the Gorgon’s head.