The Stunning & Spectacular Cassiopeia Constellation

Created by: Jena Hughes

A picture of Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia 2

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The fascinating Cassiopeia Constellation is located in the northern and northeastern sky. This constellation is seen in the evening hours in late fall. “It lies in the first quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ1) and can be seen at latitudes between +90° and -20°” ( Cassiopeia was first projected by Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer in the 2nd century. The Cassiopeia constellation was named after the vain and futile queen Cassiopeia in Greek Mythology. The constellation received its name because Cassiopeia, the Greek queen offended the Nereids or the sea nymphs by boasting that she was far more beautiful than they. Poseidon was in fact married to Amphitrite, a Nereid. It angered him that Cassiopeia was boasting that she was far more beautiful than the Nereids. As a result or rather a consequence, Cassiopeia had to sacrifice her daughter Andromeda to Cetus; the sea monster summoned by Poseidon. Cassiopeia was condemned to circle the celestial pole forever and as further punishment for her vanity and boastfulness, Cassiopeia spends half the year upside down in the sky.

Here is an additional link to more information on Cassiopeia Mythology.

Cassiopia Constellation

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Star Catalogue:

StarCoordinates (RA, dec)mSpectral ClassMDistance (ly)
Caph Beta Cassiopeiae00h 09m 10.09s, +59°9'8"+2.28F2III-IV+1.1754
Schedar Alpha Cassiopeiae00h 40m 30.39s, +56°32'14.7"+2.24K0II-IIIvar-1.99228
Cih Gamma Cassiopeiae00h 56m 42.50s, +60°43'0.3"+2.15B0IV evar-4.22613
Ruchbah Delta Cassiopeiae01h 25m 48.60s, +60°14'7.5"+2.66A5Vv SB+0.2499
Segin Epsilon Cassiopeiae01h 54m 23.68s, +63°40'12.5"+3.35B2pvar-2.31442

Detailed Feature:

Cih Gamma Cassiopeiae

Cih Gamma Cassiopeiae is a 2nd magnitude star and is the constellation’s brightest star. It is an eruptive variable star. It does not have a western name but it is called Tsih, the Chinese name for “whip”. It is the central star in the “W” shaped constellation. The celestial coordinates of Cih Gamma Cassiopeiae is a right ascension of 00h 56m 42.50s and a declination of +60°43'0.3". The apparent visual magnitude is +2.15 and the absolute magnitude is -4.22. Gamma Cassiopeiae has a spectral class of B0IVe. As of the year 2000, this star is 610 light years from Earth. An interesting fact about Gamma Cassiopeiae is this stellar star has a luminosity approximately 40,000 times that of the Sun. This is because “Gamma Cas is about 15 times as massive as the Sun and hundreds of times wider. Such a monster produces a lot of energy through the nuclear reactions in its core. That energy works its way to the surface and shines into space as visible light, ultraviolet, and other forms of electromagnetic energy” ( However, Gamma Cassiopeiae eventually will cease to produce more energy which will result in its core collapsing and its outer layers exploding. This collapse and explosion of this star will be considered a supernova. A supernova is the largest catastrophic explosion that takes place in space. Below a picture of Cassiopeia is displayed. The brightest star in the image is the star; Cih Gamma Cassiopeiae.

Gamma Cassiopeiae

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Here is the HR Diagram for Cih Gamma Cassiopeiae

Cih HR Diagram

NGC 185 (Caldwell 18)

NGC 185 (Caldwell 18) is a galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. The celestial coordinates are 00h 36.2 min +48°04". NGC 185 is a E3 type. The galaxy's apparent magnitude is -15.3. An interesting fact about this galaxy is it is a dwarf galaxy and a satellite galaxy of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Displayed below is an image of the NGC 185 Galaxy.

NGC 185 (Caldwell 18)

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Cassiopeia A

Cassiopeia A is the remnant of a once massive star that died 325 years ago because of an intense and powerful supernova explosion. This supernova is located 10,000 light years away. Cassiopeia A consists of a neutron star or a dead star and the surrounding shell of blasted material when this once galagatic or colossal star perished. Below is a false-color picture showing images taken by a few of NASA's observatories; Spitzer Space Telescope are colored red; visible data from the Hubble Space Telescope are yellow; and X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are green and blue. Three differnt wavebands of light were used to create the image.


Cassiopeia A

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Messier 103 (NGC 581)

The Messier 103 (NGC 581) star cluster is an open cluster with the celestial coordinates of 01h 33.2m +60°42". This cluster is 6'in diameter. It is approximately 8,500 light years away from Earth. It is estimated to be nearly 25 million years old. This cluster has an apparent magnitude of 7.4. The cluster consists of 40-50 stars. An interesting fact about this cluster is that you can spot it easily just by using binoculars. Additionally, the cluster has a prominent red giant within its 40 stars. It is cool in temperature and obviously luminous. This red giant is slowly losing its mass. Furthermore, this cluster can be spotted in urban skies and less than ideal sky conditions because of the red giant. Displayed below is an image of the Messier 103 star cluster.

Messier 103 (NGC 581)

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Annotated Bibliography

1. "Cassiopeia." Constellation on Top Astronomer. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.

Here is a link to Top Astronomer.

This site, showed the five major stars in the Cassiopeia constellation. The site also included some interesting facts on Cassiopeia and its stars and when they were charted and who discovered them. Also, there is a really neat feature that if you hover over the picture with the five major stars in Cassiopeia, it will show the full name, the celestial coordinates, the spectral class, and the apparent magnitude. It was written in a way that it was easy to understand. It was very useful in getting some interesting facts about Cassiopeia. I thought it was a very interesting website especially with that neat feature I explained above.

2. "Cassiopeia Constellation." Constellation Guide. WordPress, 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Here is a link to Constellation Guide.

This site was a very helpful guide to get started on this report. It had the history of how the constellation was named Cassiopeia. It had the history, all the major stars, galaxies, star clusters, nebulas that the constellation consists of. It was a very interesting site with fascinating facts about Cassiopeia. It was easy to read and I understood what the information was saying. It was very useful as described above. However, I don’t know how reliable the information is so I didn’t use the information from this site very much. I was very interested it what the guide had to say and it was easy to follow what it was saying.

3. "Cassiopeia, the Queen." StarDate Online. The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Here is a link to StarDate Online.

This site was also very useful in providing information on how the constellation received its name of Cassiopeia. It had a significant amount of information on the star Gamma Cassiopeiae. It was very cool to read about the history and facts about Cassiopeia. It was very useful not just because of the facts but also what time of year Cassiopeia can be easily seen in the night sky. I love astronomy. I think it is fascinating so I found this site very interesting.

4. Chevalier, Roger A. (12/01/1977). "THE SUPERNOVA REMNANT CASSIOPEIA A". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (0077-8923), 302(1), p. 106. This academic article is a primary source that provides information about Cassiopeia A. It was rather difficult to read in the sense that the astronomical terms are difficult to understand. However, it was useful because it provided essential information about the supernova remnant. I wasn’t very interested in the article because the article was rather long and contained a substantial amount of vocabulary that I was unfamiliar with.

5. Jansen, R. A. "Our Milky Way Galaxy and Its Companions." N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Here is a link to Galaxies in our Milky Way.

This site provided information on our Milky Way Galaxy and its companions including the galaxy NGC 185 (Caldwell 18) which is in Cassiopeia. It gave all the required information about the galaxy needed for this report. It was really difficult to read because I had to look hard for this specific galaxy since there were many others listed in this site. It was like I mentioned really useful and it too was very interesting because it had information about other galaxies.

6. "List of Stars in Cassiopeia." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Here is a link to Wikipedia.

This site was extremely useful because it provided the right ascension and declination, the apparent and absolute magnitudes of all the stars in the constellation Cassiopeia. It also included how far in light years, the stars are from Earth. It had all the information needed to classify the stars in Cassiopeia. The site was easy to understand and it was very useful. However, I wasn’t as interested in the information because it was just a large table with words and numbers, no interesting facts were provided.

7. "NGC 185 Dwarf Galaxy." Gallery Johannes Schedler. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Here is a link to information about the NGC 185 Galaxy.

This site was useful in gathering information about NGC 185 Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. It provided essential information including the size of the galaxy. This site was also useful in providing pictures of the galaxy. This is the site where I got the picture of the NGC 185 Galaxy. The site was easy to understand and as mentioned above, it was very useful. It was also interesting because it provided awesome pictures of the galaxy.

8. Nelson, Jon. "Space Images: Cassiopeia A: Death Becomes Her - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory." Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Here is a link to information about Cassiopeia A.

This site is provided by NASA which makes it reliable. It was very useful in providing facts and information about the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. This site also provided an incredible picture of Cassiopeia A. This site is worth reading because it provides interesting information about a fascinating remnant in the Cassiopeia constellation. It was easy to understand and the information was very useful. Like I was very interested in the information the site provided.

9. Plotner, Tammy. "Messier 103." Universe Today RSS. WordPress, 7 Jan. 2010. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

Here is a link to information about Messier 103 Star Cluster.

This site provided me with information about the star cluster; Messier 103. It provided information like the brightness, the ascension and declination, the dimension, the type of cluster, etc. It also provided the history of the cluster. It was very intriguing to read and I understood what Plotner was saying. It was extremely useful in giving me the facts I needed to write about Messier 103. It is worth reading because this star cluster is so fascinating.