Tag Archives: Cassiopeia

Perseus (A Greek mythological hero)

PerseusCCThe constellation Perseus is located near several other constellations to which Perseus is related in Greek mythology: Cepheus, Andromeda, Pegasus, Cassiopeia, and Cetus. This constellation was one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. This easily spotted constellation is well placed high in the northern sky and best seen in January. It is found between Cassiopeia and the Pleiades, and Mirfak (Alpha Persei) is its brightest star Its most interesting star Algol (Beta Persei) is an eclipsing binary star. Its variable brightness, which is noticeable to the naked eye, decreases by over one degree of magnitude for about ten hours on a cycle time of just under three days. This star is also known as the Demon Star, because the ancients perceived its variability as an ominous sign. Also notable in this constellation is theNGC869NGC884 Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884), which are naked eye objects under very dark skies. Perseus is home to two Messier objects, M34 and M76, and to the Perseids meteor shower. This meteor shower, one of the most consistently prominent meteor showers each year, lasts from mid-July to late August, peaking between the 9th and 10th of August.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_(constellation)

606px-Perseus_IAU.svg
IAU Perseus chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Camelopardalis (The giraffe)

Camelopardalis, Till Credner, July 16, 2004.The Greek camelopardalis means giraffe, which comes from camel because of its long neck and leopard because of its spots.  The brightest star in this constellation is 4th magnitude, which can be a challenge to see in a light-polluted urban sky. This is a faint northern constellation that provides the foreground stars in a direction that points away from the flat disk of the Milky Way. This 18th-largest constellation is found between Polaris, The Big Dipper and Cassiopeia, and is best viewed in February when it is high overhead at nightfall. Camelopardalis is also the direction in which Voyager I is headed, but its power source will be long dead when it arrives in that vicinity thousands of years from now. This constellation is also home to May’s Camelopardalids meteor shower.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelopardalis

IAU Camelopardalis chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Lacerta (The lizard)

Andromeda, LacertaLacerta, the lizard, is a northern hemisphere constellation that presents a slight “W” shape, and is hence sometimes referred to as “Little Cassiopeia.” It is nestled among five large and distinct constellations: Cepheus, Cygnus, Pegasus, Andromeda and Cassiopeia, and it can be found highest in the sky at nightfall in March. Most notable for telescope viewers is Roe 47, a multiple star system consisting of five gravitationally-bound components between 6th and 10th magnitude. While the brightest, 6th magnitude component can usually be seen with the unaided eye under very dark skies, a modest telescope is required to see all five components.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacerta

IAU Lacerta chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Lacerta chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Andromeda (Cassiopeia’s daughter)

Andromeda, CassiopeiaAndromeda, the mythological daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, is located near these two constellations and among several other constellations representing the Perseus myth, to include Perseus, Pegasus, and Cetus. It is one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. It is found directly overhead at the zenith after sunset in December. Although Andromeda is not a very distinct constellation in light-polluted skies, most of its stars can be observed. It’s brightest star, Alpheratz (Alpha Andromeda), is shared with the constellation Pegasus, and marks one corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. Locate this constellation by starting with the north eastern most star of the Great Square of Pegasus, and find the remaining stars flowing north east from there.

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31), M31boboThe Milky Way’s closest galactic neighbor, is found in this constellation. M31 can be found with the unaided eye in the very darkest of dark skies, but can easily be found with a binocular or telescope under most adverse light pollution conditions. M31 and M110 are two of M31’s dwarf companion galaxies that can also be seen in most photographs of M31.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_(constellation)

IAU Andromeda chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.
IAU Andromeda chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Pegasus (A winged horse in Greek mythology)

PegasusThis is a rather bright constellation that is nearly straight overhead at nightfall in November. An imaginary line drawn from Polaris through Cassiopeia to just beyond the zenith brings the viewer to this constellation. The most notable feature of this constellation is not an obvious winged horse, but an asterism known as the Great Square of Pegasus. An inexperienced observer who is accustomed to smaller constellations with denser star groupings might have difficulty perceiving these four widely spaced stars as a square. As the square’s stars are rather bright, and present an almost perfect quadrangle, it tends to be easier to relocate for an observer who has previously spotted this constellation and knows what to expect. The globular star cluster, M15, is the only Messier object in this constellation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegasus_(constellation)

IAU Pegasus chart, Sky  Telescope magazine Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Pegasus chart, Sky Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Cassiopeia (A Greek mythological queen)

CassiopeiaCassiopeia is named after the vain Greek mythological queen of Aethiopia, the wife of Cepheus and the daughter of Andromeda. This constellation was one of the 48 constellations cataloged by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. This 25th-largest constellation appears as either a distinct “M” (fall and winter) or “W” (spring and summer) shaped asterism of bright stars that often catches the eye of novice observers who happen to gaze in the right direction. Although it is a northern circumpolar constellation that can be seen year round, it is found high above Polaris in December, which is when it is most easily viewed. This constellation is located opposite of the Big Dipper from Polaris, so try finding it by starting at the Big Dipper, and tracing a line northward (upward) through Polaris until reaching the first grouping of bright stars.

The Milky Way flows through Cassiopeia, and it contains two Messier objects, M52 and M103, both of which are open star clusters. It also contains numerous other NGC objects and two supernova remnants, including Tycho’s Star, a supernova recorded in 1572 by Tycho Brahe, and another remnant of a supernova that was seen 300 years ago. Interestingly, if our sun were observed from Alpha Centuari, our nearest solar neighbor 4 light-years away, it would appear to be located in Cassiopeia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassiopeia_(constellation)

603px-Cassiopeia_IAU.svg
IAU Cassiopeia chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Cepheus (The King of Aethiopia)

CepheusCCCepheus 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.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cepheus_(constellation)

IAU Cepheus chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Frick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Cepheus chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Frick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net