Who is Cepheus?

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Cassiopeia and Cepheus agree, and Perseus uses the head of Medusa to turn Cetus to stone and the sea monster sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

Cepheus (constellation) - Wikipedia

Thinking Cassiopeia has not suffered enough, Poseidon casts her into the stars, very close to the North Star, Polaris. Each night, Cassiopeia's tight, circumpolar orbit means that she, shackled to her chair, "plunges like a diver, parted at the knees," said Aratus of Soli in "Phaenomena" around B. A great road sign to navigate your way around the night sky, the pattern hosts many hidden wonders. Taking pride of place within the eye line of the Milky Way from where observers view her, Cassiopeia is in one of the richest portions of the night sky, one that contains a plethora of deep-sky objects.

The best of these clusters, visible in larger binoculars or a small scope, is M With stars tightly packed and an age of only around 35 million years, it makes for a great introduction to Messier clusters. This is an open star cluster that resembles the bird, with two beady eyes located around the star Phi Cassiopeiae.

M and NGC are both open star clusters, groups of stars clustered together ranging from just 40 relatively young stars in M to nearly innumerable older stars in NGC For Radio Astronomers, Cassiopeia contains Cassiopeia A, an extremely bright extrasolar radio source, the remnants of a supernova. Submit Feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. This article was most recently revised and updated by Michael Ray , Associate Editor.


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Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Greek mythology, body of stories concerning the gods, heroes, and rituals of the ancient Greeks. Ptolemy compiled a list of all the then-known 48 constellations.

This treatise, known as the Almagest , would be used by medieval European and Islamic scholars for over a thousand years to come, effectively becoming astrological and astronomical canon until the early Modern Age. One of these is the northern constellation of Cepheus, named after the mythological king of Ethiopia. In Greek mythology, Cepheus represents the mythical king of Aethiopia — and husband to the vain queen Cassiopeia.

This also makes him the father of the lovely Andromeda, and a member of the entire sky saga which involves jealous gods and mortal boasts. To avoid catastrophe, Cepheus tried to sacrifice his daughter Andromeda to Cetus; but she was saved by the hero Perseus, who also slew the monster. The two were to be married, but this created conflict since Andromeda had already been promised to Cepheus brother, Phineus.

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A fight ensued, and Perseus was forced to brandish the head of Medusa to defeat his enemies, which caused Cepheus and Cassiopeia who did not look away in time to turn to stone. As one of the 48 fabled constellations from Greek mythology, Cepheus was included by Ptolemy in his 2nd century tract, The Almagest. Next is Beta Cephei, a triple star systems that is approximately light years from Earth. The brightest component in this system, Alfirk A, is a blue giant star B2IIIev , which indicates that it is a variable star.

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In fact, this star is a prototype for Beta Cephei variables — main sequence stars that show variations in brightness as a result of pulsations of their surfaces. This star also serves as a prototype for Cepheid variables, where pulsations on its surface are directly linked to changes in luminosity. The brighter component of the binary is classified as a yellow-white F-class supergiant, while its companion is believed to be a B-class star.

Gamma Cephei is another binary star in Cepheus, which is located approximately 45 light years away. Cepheus is also home to many notable Deep Sky Objects. The galaxy was discovered by William Herschel in September , and nine supernovae have been observed in it over the last century. The cluster is embedded in a nebula that is about light years in size and roughly 7, light years from our Solar System.

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Cepheus (constellation)

It is also a relatively young open cluster, as its stars are estimated to be less than million years old. The object is so-named because it is actually a star cluster embedded inside a nebula. Affected with nebulosity which more than fills the field.