Cepheus (constellation)
List of stars in Cepheus
Abbreviation Cep
Genitive Cephei
Pronunciation /ˈsiːfiəs/ or /ˈsiːfjuːs/; genitive /ˈsiːfiaɪ/
Symbolism the King/King Cepheus
Right ascension 22 h
Declination +70°
Quadrant NQ4
Area 588 sq. deg. (27th)
Main stars 7
Stars with planets 1
Stars brighter than 3.00m 1
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly) 3
Brightest star α Cep (Alderamin) (2.45m)
Nearest star Kruger 60
(13.15 ly, 4.03 pc)
Messier objects 0
Meteor showers None


Ursa Minor
Visible at latitudes between +90° and −10°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of November.

Cepheus is a constellation in the northern sky. It is named after Cepheus, King of Aethiopia in Greek mythology, and is considered to represent a King. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations.

In Chinese astronomy, constellation Cepheus was divided in two areas:


Notable features


γ Cephei is a binary star approximately 50 light years away from Earth. The system consists of an orange subgiant and a red dwarf. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, γ Cephei will be the pole star between AD 3000 and 5200, with the closest approach to the celestial pole around AD 4000. The primary component is orbited by a planet.

δ Cephei is the prototype Cepheid variable.[citation needed] It was discovered to be variable by John Goodricke in 1784. It varies between 3.5m and 4.3m over a period around 5.4 days.[citation needed]

There are three red supergiants in the constellation that are visible to the naked eye.[citation needed] The first, μ Cephei, is also known as Herschel's Garnet Star due to its deep red colour. It is a semiregular variable star that varies between 3.4m and 5.1m over a period of 730 days.[citation needed] The star is around 11.8 AU in radius.[citation needed] If it were placed at the centre of our Solar System, it would extend to the orbit of Saturn.[citation needed] The second, VV Cephei, is also variable and ranges from 4.8m and 5.4m over a period around 20 years.[citation needed] The third red supergiant is V381 Cephei, whose apparent magnitude is 5.66m.[citation needed] Each of the stars are among the largest known.[citation needed]

Kruger 60 is an 11th magnitude binary star consisting of two red dwarfs.[citation needed] The star system is one of the nearest, being only 13 light years away from Earth.[citation needed]

Deep sky objects

  • 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.


Cepheus as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825.

The stars of Cepheus form a shape approximately like a box with a triangle on top. When fainter stars visible to the naked eye are included, Cepheus can be interpreted as looking like a king with a crown (upside down with respect to the ecliptic).[citation needed]


Together with other constellations nearby (Andromeda, Perseus, Cassiopeia, and possibly Pegasus), and the constellation Cetus below Cepheus, this may be the source of the myth of the Boast of Cassiopeia, with which it is usually identified.[citation needed]

In the TV comedy 3rd Rock From The Sun, the aliens' home planet is given as located in a barred spiral galaxy on the Cepheus-Draco border.


USS Cepheus (AKA-18) and USS Cepheus (AK-265), United States navy ships.

See also

Cepheus (Chinese astronomy)


External links

Coordinates: Sky map 22h 00m 00s, +70° 00′ 00″

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cepheus — (Ancient Greek: Κηφεύς, Kepheús, meaning gardener) may refer to: In Greek Mythology: Cepheus, King of Aethiopia, in Greek mythology Cepheus, King of Tegea, the king of Tegea, Arcadia in Greek mythology In Astronomy: Cepheus (constellation), one… …   Wikipedia

  • Constellation de Céphée — Céphée (constellation) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Céphée. Céphée …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cepheus — Ce pheus, n. (Astron.) A northern constellation near the pole. Its head, which is in the Milky Way, is marked by a triangle formed by three stars of the fourth magnitude. See {Cassiopeia}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cepheus — [sē′fē əs, sē′fyo͞os΄] n. [L < Gr Kēpheus] 1. Gr. Myth. the husband of Cassiopeia and father of Andromeda 2. a N constellation near the celestial pole …   English World dictionary

  • Cepheus (Chinese astronomy) — In Chinese astronomy, constellation Cepheus were divided in two areas. The areas are: Three Enclosures (三垣, Sān Yuán) The Black Tortoise of the North (北方玄武, Běi Fāng Xuán Wǔ) If we look at the areas, possibly constellation Cepheus in Chinese sky… …   Wikipedia

  • Constellation — This article is about the star grouping. For other uses, see Constellation (disambiguation). The constellation Orion is one of the most recognizable in the night sky. In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the… …   Wikipedia

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  • Constellation du Lézard — Lézard (constellation) Pour les articles homonymes, voir lézard (homonymie). Lézard …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cepheus — noun a) Husband of Cassiopeia, king of Eritrea, father of Andromeda. There may be two mythical kings by this name. b) A circumpolar constellation of the northern sky representing the king Cepheus from Greek myth. The constellation lies between… …   Wiktionary

  • constellation — [[t]kɒ̱nstəle͟ɪʃ(ə)n[/t]] constellations 1) N COUNT A constellation is a group of stars which form a pattern and have a name. ...a planet orbiting a star in the constellation of Cepheus. 2) N COUNT: with supp, usu N of n A constellation of… …   English dictionary

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