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16392.  Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:13 am Reply with quote


Cassiopeia (Greek for 'cassia juice' (Cassia trees are a member of the pea family, and have large, yellow, juicy pods)) and Cephus (Greek for 'gardener') had a beautiful daughter named Andromeda. Cassiopeia had once rather unwisely boasted that both she and her daughter were more beautiful than the Nereids which were the daughters of Poseidon, the god of the sea, and Poseidon got pretty angry about this level of hubris. The only way to quell him was the sacrifice of their daughter to Cetus, a whale-like sea monster (hence the term for marine mammals: Cetaceans). Fortunately, Perseus turns up in the nick of time, turns Cetus to stone using his recently won, handy, collector's-edition Gorgon head, and releases Andromeda from the roack she's been chained to.

Cassiopeia then promises Andromeda to Perseus, but soon has second thoughts. She convinces one of Poseidon's sons, Agenor, to disrupt the wedding ceremony by claiming Andromeda for himself. Agenor arrives with an entire army, and a fierce struggle ensues.

In the battle Cassiopeia is said to have cried "Perseus must die". At any rate it was Perseus who was victorious, with the help of the Gorgon's head which he waved in the midst of the warring wedding party, instantly turning them all to stone. In the group were both Cepheus and Cassiopeia.

The Romans described Cassiopeia chained to her throne in the heavens as punishment for her boastfulness. As the sky appears to rotate, she can sometimes be seen suffering as she hangs upside down in her chair - a very undignified end.

From the Wikipedia-linked, and rather lovely, amongst other places.


in 1572, Tycho Brahe - the astronomer of the duel-resulting electrum nose (but possibly not the fatally exploding bladder) - noticed a very bright star in the constellation of Cassiopeia which is now (apart from our own Sun) the strongest radio source in the sky. He had seen a supernova.

The constellations (q.v.) only show a coincidental, line-of-sight association between stars which are spacially nowhere near each other. If you went to a different point in space, you would see only some of the same constellations that you can see from Earth. If, however, you were to observe Earth's Sun from our nearest star, Alpha Centauri, it would appear to be in the constellation of Cassiopeia.

Mostly Harmless
32852.  Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:41 am Reply with quote


Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:35 am; edited 1 time in total

33091.  Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:45 pm Reply with quote

That's news to me MH - presumably cassia tastes like cinnamon then?


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