The Cepheus Constellation Essay

622 words - 3 pages

While studying the solar system in our eighth grade science class, we were each assigned a constellation to research. The constellation that was assigned to me was Cepheus. In this paper my goal is to explain the myth behind this constellation and describe its features.
To achieve my goal, I have organized my paper into three main sections, one of which has sub-sections. In the first section, I will explain the Greek mythology that is associated with the constellation Cepheus. In the second section, I will describe the physical characteristics of this constellation: discovery, location, shape, size, visibility, stars, and special characteristics. I will end my paper with a conclusive section about my constellation and research.
GREEK MYTHOLOGY
The constellation Cepheus is named after the Ethiopian King Cepheus. This is why the constellation is also referred to as the King. Cepheus was married to Cassiopeia. Together, ...view middle of the document...

According to Greek mythology, Cepheus was descended from the nymph, Lo, one of Zeus favourites, which made him worthy of a place among the stars (www.topastronomer.com). This led to his permanent placement in the sky by Zeus.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
The constellation Cepheus is located near the constellations of Andromeda and Cassiopeia. In graphic visualizations "Cepheus is most commonly depicted as holding his arms aloft, praying for the gods to spare the life of Andromeda"(Staal 14). When viewed with a telescope, the constellation is said to look like a house.
Discovery, Location, Shape, Size and Visibility . Cepheus was discovered by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century. It is located in the northern hemisphere as part of the Milky Way Galaxy. The actual location is between latitudes +90 and -10 degrees and 22 longitude hours. It is located near the Cygnus, Cassiopeia, Lacerta, and Andromeda constellations. It is not a bright constellation. It can be found as a house shaped group of stars next to the m or w shape of Cassiopeia (www.pa.msu.edu.com). Cepheus has an area of 588 square degrees. Cepheus is visualized the best around 2100 during the month of November.
Stars and Special Characteristics. The Cepheus constellation has seven main stars and 43 Bayer stars. There is one star in this constellation that has planets associated with it. There is also a red star known as the Garnet star associated with Cepheus. The brightest star is a white star called Alderamin. Alderamin was the pole star in the distant past and "will become the pole star in 5500 years" (www.topastronomer.com). Cepheus can be seen in the northern hemisphere all year. This makes it a circumpolar constellation.
CONCLUSION
The Cepheus constellation, which is named for the Ethiopian king, has an interesting mythological background story involving the ancient Greek Gods. I enjoyed researching this history. Since its discovery by Ptolemy in the second century, many more facts have been discovered about Cepheus. Cepheus should be easy to find in the night sky due to its characteristic house shape and placement near Cassiopeia.

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