By Kylie Ren
Fun facts- Cassiopeia is located in the northern sky and is one of the brightest and most recognizable constellations in the night sky. Schedar is the brightest star in the constellation, and it has a size 40 times larger than our sun! The constellation was cataloged by a Greek astronomer named Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Like many of the constellations, Cassiopeia has a myth, and interesting facts.
Visibility & location
Cassiopeia is located in the northern sky and is one of the 88 modern constellations. Cassiopeia is not hard to spot due to its distinctive 'M' or 'W' shape. The constellation appears as a 'M' when it is in upper culmination. When near lower culminations in spring and summer, it flips to a 'W' shape. It is also the 25th largest constellation in the night sky, taking up an area of 598 square degrees. Cassiopeia lies in the first quadrant of the norther hemisphere. One can see the constellation at latitudes between +90 degrees and -20 degrees. It is visible all year round in the northern hemisphere and is visible in late spring in northern regions of the southern hemisphere.
Asterisms & Neighboring Constellations
An asterism is not one of the official constellations and is instead a group of stars that form a distinctive shape. Within Cassiopeia, there are two asterisms. The first one is formed by five of the brightest stars in the constellation, and it is the 'W'/'M' which we look for to find Cassiopeia. The second is the 'Three Guides' which contains three stars. However, only one is within the constellation Cassiopeia. The other two are in Andromeda and Pegasus.
Cassiopeia is bordered by constellations Andromeda, Camelopardalis, Cepheus, Lacerta, and Perseus; and it belongs in the Perseus family of Constellations.
There are five major stars in Cassiopeia, forming a distinctive 'W' shape.
From left to right the stars are: Epsilon, Delta, Gamma, Alpha and Beta Cassiopeiae.
The brightest star in Cassiopeia is Schedar, Alpha Cassiopeiae.
Cassiopeia was a queen from Greek mythology known for her vanity and arrogance. She was the wife of King Cepheus of Ethiopia. One day, Cassiopeia proclaimed that she and her daughter were even more beautiful and radiant than the Nereids, female spirits of the sea known for their beauty. Hearing this, they were enraged by Cassiopeia and asked the sea god Poseidon to immediately send a sea monster to ravage Ethiopia. Desperate, the king asked an oracle for help, and was told that the only way to appease Poseidon was to sacrifice their daughter, Andromeda. Andromeda was later chained to a rock for the sea monster to find. However, she was luckily rescued by the hero Perseus and as an alternative punishment, Poseidon sent Cassiopeia into the heavens. She was condemned to forever circle the celestial pole and spend half the year upside down in the sky.