Cepheus is named after the Greek mythological King of Aethiopia, who was also Queen Cassiopeia’s husband and Princess Andromeda’s father. This constellation was one of the 48 constellations cataloged by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. This 27th-largest constellation is a fairly bright and recognizable circumpolar constellation. It is a house-like asterism of fairly bright stars that can be easily found north and east of Polaris in September’s evening skies.
Cepheus is home to some interesting deep space objects. NGC 188 is the closest open star cluster to the north celestial pole, and the Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946) is a spiral galaxy in which nine supernova have been observed, more than in any other galaxy. Also, a quasar that is powered by a supermassive black hole is among the most powerful objects in the universe is located in Cepheus.
© James R. Johnson, 2014.