Not A Bright Constellation
Cepheus Has A Few Jewels

The constellation Cepheus is known as a circumpolar constellation.

This means that it's located near the celestial pole and visible all year round. At least in the northern hemisphere.

Cepheus is the mythical king married to vain, boastful, Queen Cassiopeia. Father of Princess Andromeda, whose beauty Cassiopeia proclaims as being the greatest in all the lands. This boast angered the sea-nymphs, The Nereids who asked Poseidon to teach the vain queen a lesson.

The God Poseidon sent the sea monster Cetus to destroy her kingdom and its people.

King Cepheus consulted the wise Oracle and was told the only way to save his land and subjects was to sacrifice his daughter Andromeda.

Andromeda was chained to a rock near the coast and left for the monster Cetus.

As luck would have it though, Perseus was passing by having slain the Gorgon Medusa. Riding the winged horse Pegasus, Perseus was able to rescue Andromeda and later become her husband.

constellation cepheus
constellation cepheus diagram

The constellation Cepheus is shaped like a square with a triangle on top.

Right Ascension: 22 hours

Declination: 70 degrees

Visible between latitudes +90 and -10 degrees

Best seen in October at 9:00 PM local time

named stars: Alderamin(Alpha Cephei) Alfirk(Beta Cephei) Alrai(Gamma Cephei) Herschel's "garnet star" (Mu Cephei) Alkurhah (Xi Cephei) Al Kalb al Rai (Rho2 Cephei)

Nu Cephei has the common name Cor Regis which is Latin for 'heart of the king'. At 5th magnitude it's hard to spot with the naked eye but is a visual treat in binoculars.

NGC 188 is an open cluster that has the distinction of being the closest open cluster to the north celestial pole. as well as one of the oldest known open clusters.

The Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946) is a spiral galaxy in which nine supernovae have been observed, more than in any other galaxy.

The nebula NGC 7538 is home to the largest yet discovered protostar.

Delta Cephei,is a prototype for what are now called Cepheid variable stars. The study of stars such as these helps astronomers determine distance.

Kappa, Omicron and Pi Cephei are triple star systems.

There are three red super giants in the constellation that are visible to the naked eye.

Mu Cephei is known as Herschel's Garnet Star. It is a red super giant variable and one of the largest stars known to us. Its size would place it well beyond the orbit of Jupiter almost to Saturn.

V354 Cephei if it existed in our solar system, with its girth at 7AU (astronomical units) would reach from the position of the Sun to beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

VV Cephei(A) is the big daddy, though; at almost 2,000 times the radius of our Sun, it would swallow Saturn.


Although Cepheus is not a very bright constellation, it is located in a rather empty part of the sky near the North Pole, so it is not too difficult to find.

Adjoining Ursa Minor and Camelopardalis. Cepheus is further bordered by his queen, the vain Cassiopeia, and Draco, the dragon constellation. Cygnus and Lacerta are immediately underneath Cepheus.

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