Universe Guide

Cepheus, King of Ethiopia Constellation

Cepheus Constellation Star Map

Cepheus (Pronounciation:Cee-fee-us, Abbrev:Cep, Latin:Cephei) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Cepheus takes up 587.787 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.42% of the night sky. Cepheus is the 27th largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means King of Ethiopia . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

There are 5 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 1885 stars. There are 95 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

Cepheus is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Cepheus is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.

There are 3 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Cepheus. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Cepheus is RW Cephei.

There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 1 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.

The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.

Distance to Cepheus

You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 46.00 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 836.32 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 346.38 light years.

Cepheus Star Facts

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

Kruger 60, Cepheus's Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is Kruger 60 which is roughly about 13.05 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HIP 109384 which is about 182.83 Light Years.

HIP 104589, Cepheus's Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 104589 and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

Alderamin, Brightest Star in Cepheus

The brightest star in Cepheus is Alderamin and is located about 216.90 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 2.45 but an absolute magnitude of 1.56 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is recognised as being the brightest in the constellation as it has the Bayer status of Alpha.

HD 202987, Cepheus's Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Cepheus with the naked eye is HD 202987. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.

Mu Cephei, Herschel's Garnet Star

It is referred to as Herschel's Garnet Star because it was seen as being red in colour, very much like the mineral Garnet from where it gets its name from. It is one of the largest stars known and the largest star that is currently visible by the naked eye. It is nearing death as it has begun converting helium into carbon. Stars can only go so far in converting from one element to another before it explodes. Wiki

RW Cephei

RW Cephei is an interesting star in the constellation, it is a humungous giant star. If it was in the centre of , we would be within it. It is not the largest star in the night sky, the current largest is UY Scuti which is 1,708 times as large according to latest research.

VV Cephei

In addition to the constellation having RW Cephei, it also hosts VV Cephei, another super giant star. This star is not as large as RW Cephei but it is is still an impressively large star and once which would encompass our star if it was in the centre of the Solar System.

How to Find and View Cepheus in the Night Sky

Northern Hemisphere

Cepheus is one of four constellations that can be seen all the year round in the Northern Hemisphere. There is no best or worst time for it. The only thing that could affect your viewing is light and exactly where you are in the Northern Hemisphere. Because of the Pole Star and being visible all year round, it was used by navigators in centuries long ago.

Southern Hemisphere

In Darwin, Australia, you are just able to see the constellation above the horizon in November at about 8-9 pm. Any other time or location more southerly, you will not be able to see.

Cepheus Mythology

Cepheus, was the king of Philistia ( Now Ethiopia ) whose wife Cassiopeia ordered their daughter to be sacrificed to the Cetus sea whale. Cassiopeia would be rescued from Cetus by Perseus using the severed head of Medusa, the Gorgon woman who had snakes for hair and whoever she looked at could turn them to stone.

Cepheus Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarAlderamin
Area587.787 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.42%
Size Position27th
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count3
Meteor Shower Count5
Nearest StarKruger 60
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HIP 109384
Largest StarRW Cephei
Brightest StarAlderamin
Dimmest StarHD 202987
Furthest StarHIP 104589
Bright Star Count95
Hipparcos Star Count1885
Main Star Count5
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCassiopeia
Ursa Minor

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Cepheus

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Ghost NebulaBright Nebula1,47068d 09` 4821h 01m 36m 9
NGC 2300Lenticular Galaxy+85 42 31.9007 32 20m 486
NGC 7160 (Open Galactic Cluster)Open Star Cluster2572.1 +62:36:1221h 53h 40
NGC 7822Nebula2,900 +67d 25` 17.000h 01m 08m 58
Wizard Nebula (NGC7380)Nebula7,20058:0622h 47h 0

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