The beautiful Andromeda was the daughter of the Ethiopian king Cepheus and queen Cassiopeia. One day, the vain queen had bragged that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids, the sea nymphs. The sea nymphs fell angry to hear that and complained to Poseidon, the god of the sea. A furious Poseidon unleashed the sea monster (or whale) Cetus to ravage the coast and devastate the land of Ethiopia in order to avenge the insult to his wards, the Nereids. The desperate king Cepheus appealed Zeus, who suggested the sacrifice of Andromeda as the only way to appease the wrathful Poseidon.
Our hero, Perseus, who was just returning via flying horse (Pegasus) from having slayed Medusa by cutting off that she-monster's head, found himself face to face with the beautiful Andromeda chained helplessly onto the rocks, awaiting her doom. Perseus immediately fell in love with the lovely maiden and promptly killed Cetus the beast. Some say that Perseus used Medusa's head to turn the sea monster into the Rock of Gibraltar. Interestingly, Medusa's head is identified as the star Algol in Perseus, a star who's Arabic name literally translates to "the Devil." Does this refer to the fact that Algol is an eclipsing binary star who's brightness fades dramatically for few hours every 3 days or so? Cetus contains a long-period pulsating variable star known as Mira which means "the wonderful." Is this another sign that the ancients knew about the variability of this star also?
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