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The constellation Cassiopeia is located in the northern hemisphere and covers an area of 598 square degrees. Therefore it is slightly larger than the constellation of Cepheus. Close to the star β Cassiopeiae runs the zero meridian of the sky.
How to spot Cassiopeia
The constellation of Cassiopeia consists of five stars that form the letters W or M, which is why it is often referred to as sky-W or sky-M. The top of the middle of the W points in the direction of the Polaris. The constellation is circumpolar, so to see the whole year, but best in the fall. It lies between the constellations Andromeda, Cepheus, Perseus, Lacerta and Giraffe.
In Greek mythology Cassiopeia is the wife of the Ethiopian King Cepheus and the mother of Andromeda. She drew the wrath of the Gods, claiming to be even more beautiful than the Nereids who lived at the same time and were considered the epitome of beauty. Thus, the sea monster Cetus in the form of a whale was sent to devastate the shores of the kingdom. According to an oracle, the disaster could only be averted by the royal couple sacrificing their daughter. That’s why Andromeda was chained to a rock and left to her fate, but before the sea monster could approach her, she was rescued by Perseus. To commemorate this story, all those involved were put into the starry sky after their death.
In 1572 Tycho Brahe observed a supernova in the Cassiopeia. Later, in the 17th century, attempts were made to rename the constellation after Mary Magdalene, but the proposal never prevailed.