Recently my cousin shared a photograph with me where a little impressionable girl was wearing a T shirt which proclaimed “Forget Princess I want to be an Astrophysicist” After looking at the photograph I replied back to him saying
The myth of a damsel in distress finding the Prince Charming riding a white horse has been glorified by the Greek mythological folklore and also thanks to the Cinderella fairy tales popularized by Disney movies adding to the imagination of young girls creating an alternate reality and poor guys are victims of such perpetual myth. I also question why the little girl was interested in becoming an Astrophysicist? Does the girl understand what Astrophysics mean ? I added the little girl has to pass my test to gauge here interest in Astrophysics. My questions would be
What is SuperNova ?
What is Andromeda ?
If the little girl would answer these questions correctly she would pass my test because her interest to pursue Astrophysics is driven by some inherent curiosity. But I added the girl is just a kid she will realize that the ideal career is one which can balance both the monetary and interest quotient and said that the girl had a long way to go before making her public proclamation a reality.
My cousin replied back to me that I made a brilliant point. He added the picture was taken with a T-Shirt merchandise sold in a discovery science museum as an atypical slogan to break all the too conventional princess themes.
A supernova is an astronomical event that occurs during the last stellar evolutionary stages of a massive star’s life, whose dramatic and catastrophic destruction is marked by one final titanic explosion. This causes the sudden appearance of a “new” bright star, before slowly fading from sight over several weeks.
The Andromeda Galaxy also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224, is a spiral galaxy approximately 780 kiloparsecs (2.5 million light-years) from Earth. It is the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way and was often referred to as the Great Andromeda Nebula in older texts. It received its name from the area of the sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which was named after the mythological princess Andromeda.
I knew that Andromeda was the nearest Galaxy to our Milk way. But I did not know that Andromeda Galaxy was named after the mythological Princess Andromeda. So I dug a bit deeper to find the strory behind the Greek Princess Andromeda.
In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, king and queen of the North African kingdom of Aethiopia.
Her mother Cassiopeia boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids, the nymph-daughters of the sea god Nereus and often seen accompanying Poseidon. To punish the queen for her arrogance, Poseidon, brother to Zeus and god of the sea, sent a sea monster named Cetus to ravage the coast of Aethiopia including the kingdom of the vain queen. The desperate king consulted the Oracle of Apollo, who announced that no respite would be found until the king sacrificed his daughter, Andromeda, to the monster. Stripped naked, she was chained to a rock on the coast. The damsel in distress Andromeda is rescued by a Prince Charming Perseus riding a white horse making the tag line “ Damsel in Distress Saved by a Prince Charming Riding a white House” immortal.
After Reading the Story of Andromeda I realized that I had quoted Damsel in Distress and Andromeda while replying to my cousin without realizing that Andromeda albeit a Galaxy name was the first original Damsel in distress and as much the girl wearing the T shirt wanted to be an astrophysicist instead of an princess the astrophysicists still named the nearest galaxy after a Princess Andromeda the Original Damsel in Distress. Some Myths no matter what always continue to inspire.