Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterThe Cassiopeia constellation is a constellation in the Northern sky that was listed as one of the original 48 constellations by Ptolemy. It is also one of the 88 modern constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union. The constellation can be easily recognized by its distinctive W shape formed by five brilliant stars. The constellation has been rumored to be named after the vain queen Cassiopeia of Greek mythology fame.
The Cassiopeia constellation contains two stars that are visible to the unaided eye. Both rank among the most luminous in the galaxy: p Cas and V509 Cas. The star n Cas is a binary star that is only 19.4 light years away and includes a yellow Sun-like dwarf and an orange dwarf star. The constellation also includes two Messier objects: Messier 52 and Messier 103. Both are open clusters and are easy targets with binoculars because they are both 7th magnitude. The constellation contains two supernovas. The supernova known as Tycho’s Star was widely observed in Cassiopeia in 1572. The scientific description of this star was written by Tycho Brahe. Another supernova remnant, Cassiopeia A, is approximately 300 years old and has the distinction of being the strongest radio source that is observable outside our solar system.
The Cassiopeia constellation contains five main stars and 53 Bayer/Flamsteed stars. Three of the stars in the system are known to have planets. The brightest star in the group is Alpha Cassiopeiae. The star in the group that is nearest to Earth is n Cas, also called Achird.
Even though there isn’t a vast wealth of information about the Cassiopeia constellation, there is a good article here. We have a very indepth article about Cassiopeia here on Universe Today. Because many features of the different constellations require a telescope to observe them, Astronomy Cast offers a good episode on how to chose a telescope.