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Friday, July 20, 2012

Cassiopeia & Cepheus

Straddling along the spectacular Milky Way Band, CASSIOPEIA the Queen (left in image) & CEPHEUS the King (right in image) are certainly a royal and star-studded couple! A variety of star bodies can be found in both, including plenty of open star clusters in Cassiopeia, a few galaxies (three of them, NGC 278, 147, & 185, are more south of Cassiopeia than what the image shows), and beautiful nebulae. While Cassiopeia is known for famous nebulae, like Pacman Nebula and Bubble Nebula, Cepheus boasts a few interesting stars. One of them is the Garnet Star (μ), a large supergiant noted for its deep red color; another is Delta (δ) Cephei, a Cepheid variable star in which brightness changes as it pulsates. In addition, Cepheus has quite a collection of spectacular nebulae as well, like the luminous Iris Nebula, vast Elephant's Trunk Nebula (IC 1396), and neat Bow-Tie Nebula (NGC 40 - planetary nebula)! You'll find Andromeda, Cygnus, Lacerta, & Perseus south of Cassiopeia & Cepheus, while Draco is east of Cepheus, Camelopardalis is west of Cassiopeia, and Polaris (at the tip of Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper) is north of Errai (the 'crown' star in Cepheus).
This image reveals the major stars in Cassiopeia, which form the iconic 'W'CASSIOPEIA
Brightest Star: Schedar, also known as Shedir (average apparent magnitude of 2.24)
Second Brightest Star: Caph (2.28) (the lower the number, the brighter).
Some Remarkable Objects: Pacman Nebula, Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635), & Heart Nebula (IC 1805 - west of Cassiopeia & not shown on image)
Brightest Star: Alderamin (2.25)
Second Brightest Star: Alfirk (3.14)
Some Remarkable Objects: Garnet Star, Delta Cephei, Elephant's Trunk Nebula, & Iris Nebula (NGC 7023)
*All numbers in the image that don't have letters (M, IC, etc.) in front represent cosmic bodies that are categorized in the NGC - New General Catalogue

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Blog Background

The background has three Hubble Space Telescope images, which are accessible at this Hubble webpage:

— LH 95 is a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, Dorado constellation.

— Ant Nebula (also called Menzel 3) is an aptly-named planetary nebula located in the constellation Norma.
— Egg Nebula (also called CL 2688) is a protoplanetary nebula in the constellation Cygnus.

HubbleSite Image Links: LH 95, Ant Nebula, and Egg Nebula