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Location: Northern Hemisphere
Right Ascension: 23h
Declination: 72º
Source: Greek mythology

Cepheus Constellation

The story behind the name:Cepheus is said to be the name of two ancient mythological kings. One was king of Tegea, a part of the Peloponesian peninsula, who fathered 20 children and sailed with Jason and the Argonauts.

The other is the more familiar king of Aethiopia, husband to Queen Cassiopeia and father of Andromeda. After his vain wife boasted that her beauty was greater than that of the Sea-Nymphs (or Nereids), the sea god Poseiden, father of the Nereids, sent a terrible whale-like monster (Cetus) to Aethiopia.

King Cepheus consulted with an oracle who instructed him to sacrifice his young daughter to the monster, as the only way to appease the gods. Andromeda was chained to an ocean cliff and left to be devoured by Cetus.

Johannes Hevelius' Cepheus from Uranographia (1690)

Perseus, son of Zeus, flew by at this moment and spied the beautiful princess. He instantly fell in love with her and slew the monster, after first obtaining permission from the King and Queen to marry her.

At the wedding of Perseus and Andromeda, a family relative appeared and claimed (rightfully) that Andromeda was betrothed to him. King Cepheus scolded the relative by asking why he hadn't come for her when she was bound to the ocean cliff, in mortal peril. Cepheus failed to resolve the situation and a fight broke out in which many of the wedding guests were turned to stone.

Upon his death, King Cepheus was placed in the heavens alongside his wife, with his daughter and her husband Perseus nearby.

Introduction to Constellations | Constellation Sources | Constellations Index

Objects observed by Chandra in Cepheus: