The Constellation Cepheus

by Dominic Ford
Cepheus Cepheus
The constellation Cepheus. Roll mouse over to see labels.
Source: Stellarium.

Cepheus lies in the far northern sky. The north celestial pole lies in the neighboring constellation Ursa Minor, but the northern-most tip of Cepheus is a mere 1.5° away from the pole.

The precession of the equinoxes is shifting the pole ever-closer to the boundary between the two constellations, and by 7500 AD, Cepheus's brightest star Alderamin will have become the pole star.

Two other stars in Cepheus are of particular note. The fourth-magnitude star δ-Cep is the prototype for the Cepheid class of variable stars. It variability was discovered in 1784 by the deaf–mute astronomer John Goodricke.

Cepheus is also home to a number of other notable variable stars, including μ-Cep, sometimes known as Herschel's Garnet Star, which varies between magnitudes 3.5 and 5.1

In classical mythology, Cepheus was king of Ethiopia, the husband of queen Cassiopeia and father of Andromeda.

Date First Appeared
Ancient
Sky Area
1.4% of the sky
587.8 square degrees
Messier Objects
Cepheus contains no Messier objects
Caldwell Objects
Cepheus contains the following Caldwell objects: C1, C2, C4, C9, C12.
Neighbors
The following constellations neighbor Cepheus: Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Cygnus, Draco, Lacerta, Ursa Minor.
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Brightest Objects in Cepheus

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Alderamin (mag 2.5) NGC 7160 (mag 6.1) NGC 6946 (mag 8.9)
Errai (mag 3.2) NGC 7380 (mag 7.2) NGC 2300 (mag 11.0)
Alfirk (mag 3.2) NGC 7235 (mag 7.7) NGC 6951 (mag 11.1)
ζ-Cep (mag 3.3) NGC 6939 (mag 7.8) NGC 2276 (mag 11.4)
η-Cep (mag 3.4) NGC 7510 (mag 7.9) NGC 1184 (mag 13.0)
ι-Cep (mag 3.5) NGC 188 (mag 8.1) IC 455 (mag 14.0)
μ-Cep (mag 4.0) NGC 7261 (mag 8.4) NGC 1544 (mag 14.0)
δ-Cep (mag 4.1) NGC 7142 (mag 9.3) NGC 6949 (mag 15.0)
ε-Cep (mag 4.2) NGC 7226 (mag 9.6) IC 1502 (mag 15.0)
θ-Cep (mag 4.2) NGC 7762 (mag 10.0) IC 469
2-UMi (mag 4.2) NGC 7419 (mag 13.0) NGC 6952
ν-Cep (mag 4.3) NGC 7423 (mag 15.0)
κ-Cep (mag 4.4) NGC 7429
HD 219784 (mag 4.4) NGC 7281
υ¹-Cep (mag 4.5)
π-Cep (mag 4.5)
11-Cep (mag 4.5)
HD 217382 (mag 4.7)
HD 216446 (mag 4.8)
V337 Cep (mag 4.8)
24-Cep (mag 4.8)
O-Cep (mag 4.9)
HD 223274 (mag 5.0)
16-Cep (mag 5.0)
OV Cep (mag 5.1)

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

Color scheme