Intro and Visual description
The Ethiopian king, Cepheus (SEE-fee-us), is a circumpolar constellation that sits atop the Milky Way on a throne near his queen Cassiopeia. The legs and seat of his throne make a rough square on the Ursa Major side of Cassiopeia. Cepheus looks like a house (or throne) sitting on the Milky Way. The back of the seat comes to a point at the top above his head.
Look for mu-Cephei, the "garnet star," with a deep reddish tint. The Garnet Star is one of the reddest stars known. A huge red giant, much like Betelguese in Orion, its size is uncertain, but if its center were where our sun is, we would be inside it.
D-Cephei is a pulsating giant star.
The brightest star in Cepheus is Alderamin. In 5000 years it will become the pole star, as it was in 18,000 B.C. (see discussion of precession under Lyra).
Cepheus contains a star moving extremely rapidly, leaving a wake behind in the shape of a guitar known as the Guitar Nebula.
Origin and History
Cepheus is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.
Skylore, Literature and Culture
See Andromeda and Cassiopeia.