Origin of the name
Andromeda's mother, Cassiopeia, kept bragging about her, saying to whoever wanted to hear it how Andromeda was the most beautiful in the world. When Cassiopeia went as far as saying Andromeda was even more beautiful than the Nymphs of the Sea, the latter asked their father Poseidon to avenge them. He sent a monster, Cetus, to rampage the coasts of the kingdom; the only way to calm the monster would be to sacrifice Andromeda.
Cepheus eventually accepted the condition and had his daughter chained to a rock so Cetus could eat her. Thankfully, hero Perseus happened to be nearby at the moment. He petrified Cetus using Medusa's head and freed Andromeda, whom he took away on his horse, Pegasus.
Shape and location
The constellation can be found using Algol (Beta Persei) and the Great square of Pegasus. From that square can be figured a "dipper" about thrice as big as the Big Dipper fromed by the square (Alpha Pegasi, Beta Pegasi, Lambda Pegasi and Alpha Andromedae (Alpheratz or Sirrah)) and the constellation Andromeda, beginning with Alpha Andromedae and continuing with Beta Andromedae (Mirach) and Gamma Andromedae (Almach); Algol can be found by extending the alignement.
The constellation's shape, depending on the books, will either be the aforementionned alignement of stars, or the same with a second alignement just above starting with Alpha Andromedae and connecting Mu Andromedae and 51 Andromedae.
Alpheratz marks Andromeda's head. Formerly, Alpheratz was considered part of Pegasus (its name means shoulder of the horse in Arab); this earned it the Bayer designation of Delta Pegasi. Along with α, β, and γ Pegasi, it forms an asterism called the Great Square of Pegasus. It's a very hot star, 110 times as bright as the Sun. It has a companion, a faint star of apparent magnitude 11.3.
Almach (or Alamak, "the lynx of the desert" in Arab), or Gamma Andromedae, is a multiple star with beautiful colour contrasts located at the tip of the southern "leg" of Andromeda. The main star, γ1 And, is an orange giant 80 times the size of the Sun and 2000 times as luminous as it. γ2 And is itself a double star, with both members blue. γ2-A And is of magnitude 5.0, and γ2-B And of magnitude 5.5; they take 61 years to turn around each other, in a strongly elliptic orbit. Finally, γ2-A And is itself a double star, its companion needing only 2.7 days to complete a revolution around it.
Notable Deep sky objets
The main object of the deep sky to be observed in Andromeda is of course the Andromeda galaxy, (M31) one of the farthest object that can be seen with naked eyes. It's a large spiral galaxy, very much like the Milky Way, that can be found by drawing a line between Beta and Mu Andromedae, and extending the line about the same lenght past Mu Andromedae.
List of the stars found in the constellation
|B||F||Name(s) and other designations||Mag.||Dist. (ly)||Comments|
|α||21||Alpheratz, Alpherat, Al'faret, Al'ferats, Sirrah, Sirah, Sirrakh, Alpha Andromedae||2,06||97,1|| From Arab سرة الفرس (surrat[u] al-faras), "horse's navel" (سرة seul est surrah, "navel")|
Variable star de type α² CVn
|β||43||Mirach, Merach, Mirac, Mirak, Mirakh, Merak, Mirar, Mirath, Mirax, El Mizar, Al Mizar, Beta Andromedae||2,07||199||De l'arabe al-maraqq, "the belt"|
|γ¹,²||57||Almach, Almaak, Alamak, Almak, Almaach, Alamac, Al'mak, Gamma Andromedae||2,26||355|| From Arab الارض (al-canāq al-arđ̧) "the lynx of the desert"|
Binary star ; components of magnitude 2,26 and 4,84
|ο||1||Omicron Andromedae||3,62||692||Quadruple star|
|λ||16||Lambda Andromedae||3,81||84,2||Variable star de type RS CVn|
|ζ||34||Zeta Andromedae||4,08||181||Variable star de type RS CVn|
|υ||50||Upsilon Andromedae||4,09||43,9||Has three known exoplanets|
|φ||42||Phi Andromedae, Keun Nan Mun||4,26||740|| From Mandarin 軍南門 (jūnnánmén) "the camp's southern gate" |
The name Keun Nan Mun is shared with χ And
|ξ||46||Adhil, Xi Andromedae||4,88||196||From Arab الذيل (að-ðayl), « la queue »|
|ψ||20||Psi Andromedae||4,97||1 310|
|χ||52||Chi Andromedae, Keun Nan Mun||5,01||242|| From Mandarin 軍南門 (jūnnánmén) "the camp's southern gate" |
The name Keun Nan Mun is shared with φ And
|HR 465, GY Andromedae||6,36||455|| Its electromagnetic spectrum has rays of Promethium|
Variable star of α² CVn type
|Groombridge 34, GQ Andromedae, GX Andromedae||8.01||11.62|| Near|
Binary star ; components of magnitudes 8.08 et 11.06