The constellation Cepheus: myths, legends and descriptions

Even the most hardened pragmatist can not remain indifferent when night falls on the ground, quiet and starry.Map of the constellations of the northern hemisphere contains more expressive of heavenly figures.However, all their beauty can be appreciated just by looking at the sky this night.Big and Little Dipper, Bootes, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, and other fascinating and forced to freeze in place, admiring the beauty of the vast space, accessible to observation with the naked eye.

Today our focus constellation Cepheus (photo below), may not be the most striking and impressive, but worth a detailed study.


With Cephei in the sky coexist Little Dipper and Cassiopeia.Find constellations, like them, it is usually very simple: the star of the celestial figures quite bright and noticeable.However, the most significant landmark for finding Northern Cross asterism is located south of Cephei in the constellation Cygnus.

the entire territory of our country Cepheus - nonsetting constellation.The best time to observe it - from July to September.Part of the constellation is on the Milky Way.

proximity to the North Pole

constellation Cepheus, the scheme which includes about 150 stars, visible in clear weather without the use of whatever equipment shaped like an irregular pentagon.Interestingly, the next-door neighbor of Cepheus, Ursa Minor, not always contain the polar star.As a result of the precession of the place of today's Polar series will occupy the luminaries of the constellation Cepheus: Alfirk (beta) Alrai (gamma) and Alderamin (alpha).The first of these will take pride of place around the year 3100.These are stars with zeta and iota Cepheus and shaping up the asterism celestial figure.

constellation Cepheus: Legend

Scientists believe that the group of light appeared simultaneously with neighboring Cassiopeia, Perseus, Pegasus and Andromeda.The myths about the constellations and speak about their common origin.One is forced to think about the possibility of ancient knowledge.

Cepheus, according to Greek mythology, was the king of Ethiopia.Among other advantages of wealth and most famous for the beauty of his wife, he Cassiopeia and daughter Andromeda.One version of the legend describes the Queen as a woman willful and obstinate.Cassiopeia inadvertently compared the beauty of the daughter with impeccable appearance of the gods of Olympus, for which they were angry and wanted to punish the two women.

Another version tells that the jealous gods did not have to wait for careless words Cassiopeia: they saw the shining beauty of Andromeda and decided to put an end to such an indignity.Whatever it was, and off the coast of Ethiopia, appeared a huge whale, every day we get out on the land and devour the inhabitants of the country.Cepheus was trying to save the kingdom.Keith agreed not to destroy the village, return to him every day should have been given to the most beautiful girl.

Miraculous rescue

Sooner or later, but the turn and Andromeda.Parents' grief knew no bounds as the joyful anticipation of the jealous gods.The girl tied to a rock.Keith has crept to the victim, when he came Perseus riding Pegasus, and rescued the princess.

Beast was defeated, and beauty saved.After a time, each character has been turned into a constellation: Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, Pegasus, and even Keith.

dim but significant

All these celestial figures are close enough to each other in the sky.The constellation Cepheus, as his royal prototype gives Cassiopeia in beauty.However, the monarch since antiquity and its heavenly image can be proud of.Stars Cepheus components, have a certain attraction for scientists.Among them are binary systems, and light, huge even by the standards of the universe and the stars, which gave name to a similar type of space objects.

Two cows

The brightest star, is the constellation Cepheus boasts (diagram gives an idea of ​​the difference of the elements) - Alderamin (alpha).The name means "right hand."It was situated on the elbow regal figure.The magnitude of the world - 2.45.The distance that must be overcome to us to Alderamin, estimated at 49 light years.Alpha Cephei - White subgiant relating to the spectral class A. A special feature star is very rapid rotation.To make one revolution Alderamin requires only 12 hours, while the sun, for example, the same operation takes about a month.These researchers suggest that alpha Cephei is now at the stage of becoming a red giant.

Beta Cephei is the historical name Alfirk ("sheep").This is a variable star, whose name is indicated by a separate class of similar space bodies.For variables of type beta Cephei is characterized by changes in brightness within the 0.01-0.3 magnitude.For Alfirka range extends from 3.15 to 3.21.The period of change - 0.19 days.

In Arab countries, the scientists combined the ancient and Alfirk Alderamin in asterism "Two cows."In association with him has been given the name and Gamma Cephei - Alrai ("shepherd").

dual system

constellation Cepheus has several stellar "coalitions."Alrai interesting because it is the first pair of close, one of the companions which was discovered exoplanet.Gamma Cephei A - is orange subgiant, by weight exceeding 1.6 times the sun and luminosity - 8.2 times.It revolves around a red dwarf.The period for which the gamma Cephei B makes one revolution, is 74 years.System Alrai removed from the Sun by 45 light-years.

Gamma Cephei A has exoplanet theoretically open in 1988.In 2003, its existence is confirmed.One revolution of the planet around the star makes for 2.5 years.Its mass is estimated to exceed the weight of the scientists of Jupiter in 1.59 times.


Another dual system - Alredif or Delta Cephei.However, it is not known due to its components.Alredif - light, which gave the name of a class of variable stars, Cepheids.

Delta Cephei varies in brightness with a period of five days with little.The increase is more rapid than its decrease.The feature stars that shine associated with the change and the change has a number of characteristics: the light in different periods can be assigned to different spectral classes.When the minimum value of brightness becomes the representative of Delta Cephei type G2, which include the Sun, while the maximum - F5.These atypical features for the stars for some time remained without explanation.

The answer, however, was found.It has been found that the star pulses, i.e. changing its diameter.On average, this parameter Delta Cephei is 40 diameter of our sun.During pulsations, it changes the corresponding value of 4 that is of several million kilometers.During compression Alredifa surface is heated, it increases shine.Expansion is characterized by some cooling and decreasing brightness.Similar changes are characteristic for the entire class of Cepheids.

Red supergiants

constellation Cepheus is famous for the presence in its composition of three huge stars, the dimensions of which are allocated among all the known objects in the Universe.These are red supergiants.The first of them - Mu Cephei.Star in 350 thousand times the total luminosity of the sun.The second name of a giant - a star Herschel's Garnet.It was William Herschel first saw a beautiful shade of light.The magnitude of Mu Cephei over the Sun in 1650 again.Scientists disagree on the distance from our star is the red supergiant.Recently it considered the most accurate figure of 5,200 light-years.Mu Cephei is now at the stage of dying.In the next few million years of waiting for her explosion, after which the collapsed core of the luminaries is likely to turn into a black hole.

Mu Cephei also still a triple star system.The main couple is less than its impressive components and C.

second red giant - is VV Cephei, eclipsing double star, distant from the Sun on 5000 light-years.A component of the system - a huge star, the third largest among all the known and the second in this parameter in the Milky Way.Its diameter is more than 2.5 billion kilometers, which exceeds the similar characteristics of the Sun is about 1700 times.VV Cephei A shining brighter stars in our 275-575 thousand times.The second component of the system revolves around the first with a period of 20 years.For its size it exceeds the Sun 10 times.

third red supergiant - HR 8164. light does not have its own name.Its magnitude is equal to about 5.6.

close neighbor

All these facilities are located at a distance from the Earth.However, Cepheus and has one star located just 13 light-years away.This Kruger 60, a binary star system.Both of its components - red dwarf stars, the sun is much inferior to their size.Kruger 60 A mass almost four times smaller its radius is 35% of the radius of the sun.Component B is still "modest": the mass of our luminary yields approximately 5.5 times.Diameter Kruger 60 is 24% of the corresponding parameter of the sun.The second is a companion to the flare stars.Every eight minutes, its luminosity is increased twice, and then returns to the initial value.The system components are rotated around a center of mass with a period of 44.6 years.

Fireworks and trunk

not only interesting stars, nebulae and boasts the constellation Cepheus.A photo of one of them resembles a firework.Nebula NGC 6946 and the name is appropriate.It is interesting because within it opened nine supernovae.That number can not yet boast of any other nebula.Fireworks is located on the border with the constellation Cygnus.

With Cepheus connected and another similar space education.IC 1396 - emission nebula, famous for the fact that its territory is Elephant Trunk, the dark cloud of interstellar dust.It received its name due to the visual similarity with the corresponding part of the huge animal.

Open cluster

constellation Cepheus on their "territory" stores and one of the most ancient formations of space, open to this day.This open cluster NGC 188. This includes 120 stars that formed around the same time of the total molecular cloud.Herschel discovered it in 1831.The first count of the age congestion estimated time of its existence 24 billion years.Subsequent calculations have reduced this figure.Today, it is assumed that NGC 188 5 billion years.

Description constellations, even the most detailed, will not help to understand the beauty of the heavenly figures.The exact coordinates of the star, a description of their characteristics do not give the feeling of infinity of the universe, which appears when you peer into the night sky.The myths about the constellations passed partly in relation to its terrestrial and space, but they are no substitute for direct observation.On the other hand, data on the members of the celestial objects pattern help us to understand what is hidden even the most seemingly inconspicuous asterisks.A striking example of this - Cepheus, the constellation is not very noticeable, but contains a lot of interesting elements and talk about them curious.