This article was contributed by David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.
There are a number of large male figures looking down on us such. Most of them known for killing someone or another and ending up in the sky along with their victims, such as Scorpio killing Orion.
All these stories about men in the sky, pretty sexist I think. Although there are a few females up there: Cassiopeia, Virgo, and Andromeda, to name a few. The only trouble here is most of these girls don’t have the best reputation for being the most admired women in town. Therefore, you see Cassiopeia and the Princess Andromeda tied to a chair and a horse, respectfully.
The Gods liked to mess with these girls, so they sat Cassiopeia in a chair and positioned her in the sky so she would spend half of the day upside down. Males have a funny way of showing affection.
But each one of these constellations have something unique in their vicinity. Just south of Cassiopeia you will find one of the best looking pair of open clusters that you can see within view in one low power eyepiece. Andromeda has the Andromeda Galaxy, the furthest one can see with the naked eye, 2.5 million light years away from the planet Earth.
This means that the light you see tonight left Andromeda 2.5 million years ago traveling at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. Stop and think about that for a while.
Ka-Boom, mind blowing.
But if that is way too far away for you, then just wait for about 4.5 billon years from now when Andromeda comes visiting us as it crashes into our Milky Way. There will be some changes made in and around this part of our galaxy. Who knows if we will even be around at that time?
Even Hercules won’t be any match with the princess’ force. Nothing like a little revenge now and then. Way to go girl.
Up and coming events:
Jul 17: First Quarter Moon
Jul 21: Moon is at perigee (226,503 miles from Earth)
Jul 21: Venus passes 1.2 degrees north of Regulus
Jul 23: Full Moon
Jul 24: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Saturn
Jul 25: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Jupiter
Jul 27: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Neptune
Jul 29: Mars passes 0.7 degrees north of Regulus
Jul 30: Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks
Jul 31: Last Quarter Moon
Jul 31: Moon passes 1.8 degrees south of Uranus