If you were able to look in our direction from the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, our sun would appear as a fourth point of light in the constellation Cassiopeia, transforming the W into a Zig Zag. This supposition fills me with confusion, not least because you can't see Cassiopeia from the southern hemisphere, where I am. This is clearly stupid of me, since I'm not in the Centauri system either ... although sometimes I want to be.
Cassiopeia was the mother of Andromeda, and boasted that both she and her daughter were more beautiful than sea nymphs, the Neriads, which made their father, Posiedon, so angry he sent plagues down upon the Phoenecian kingdom of Ethiopia that she and her husband, Cepheus, ruled. The god sent a monster, Cetus, to destroy the kingdom and an oracle said the only way to appease it was to sacrifice their daughter Andromeda. So they chained her to a rock ... until Perseus came and saved her.
Andromeda is the nearest galaxy, as opposed to the nearest star, to us. A mere 2.5 million light years away.
So what am I on about?
It's partly a fascination with trying to get off planet and to see, looking back, what we look like. This statement may be modified and applied to the self. But it's also about the strange concatenation of these ancient stories, told in the stars, and our modern astronomical knowledge. How - why - do these two things relate so strangely and intimately to each other?