The constellation Cepheus is truly the king of the Constellations. He stands at the very top of the celestial sphere. He is depicted by Hevelius in his 1620-star atlas as astride Polaris, the North Star, looking down on the Earth from above. He is bejeweled with bright stars and has his beautiful queen Cassiopeia by his side.
The Cepheus constellation contains only one bright star Alderamin - Alpha Cephei, but seven major stars and some of the most famous celestial objects in the night sky are found there. Alpha Cephei is close in astronomical term, located just 49 light-years away. The Asterism of Cepheus is shaped like a house and can be located north of the distinctive W shape of Cassiopeia’s throne.
Nearby constellations include Draco, Lacerta, Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Cygnus, and Ursa Minor.
Right Ascension: 09:56
Diameter (°): 21
Area (square °): 588
Opposition: Aug 20
Size Rank: 27th
Brightness Rank: 33rd
Major stars in Cepheus
Alderamin – α Cephei (Alpha Cephei)
Alfirk – β Cephei (Beta Cephei)
δ Cephei (Delta Cephei)
Alrai – γ Cephei (Gamma Cephei)
ζ Cephei (Zeta Cephei)
η Cephei (Eta Cephei)
Garnet Star – μ Cephei (Mu Cephei)
VV Cephei (HD 208816)
Deep Sky Objects in Cepheus
The Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946, Arp 29, Caldwell 12)
The Wizard Nebula – NGC 7380
NGC 188 (Caldwell 1)
The Iris Nebula (NGC 7023, Caldwell 4)
Mythology of the Constellation Cepheus
Represented on the map of the heavens as a king in royal robe, a crown of stars on his head. He stands like a general, his left foot over the pole, the scepter in his left hand extended toward Cassiopeia as if for a favor and in her defense.
When you speak of Cepheus, you are referring to the king against whose life almost all of mythology touches. Jupiter, Neptune, none overshadow him.
It is written that he was the son of Belus and grandson of Neptune and Libya. In the true line of mythological royalty, his great grandfather was the great god Jupiter, himself.
Cepheus was one of the famous Argonauts who accompanied Jason on his daring expedition for the Golden Fleece. That is why he was raised to live in the stars. Cepheus is closely related to the voyage of Argo Navis.
There is not much written about Cepheus, the only king of the sky, except where it relates to his royal family. His queen, you remember, was Cassiopeia. They were the parents of Andromeda, who was rescued from the sea monster by Perseus. Perseus turned the sea monster Cetus to stone using the head of the Gorgan Medusa.
Although Andromeda was promised in marriage to Phineus, she married the hero Perseus who saved her life. The marriage angered Phineus. At the wedding feast of his Andromeda and Perseus, Phineus and his gang arrived, violently protesting the marriage of his formerly betrothed, Andromeda.
Cepheus, in his empirical wisdom, said, “you should have claimed her on the rock when she was the monster’s intended lunch!” A fight ensued and Perseus turned Phineus and his band into stone by exposing them to the same Gorgan’s head with which he has destroyed the monster. Some versions hold that Phineus was Cepheus’ brother.