Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Constellation Of the Month | 0 comments

CASSIOPEIA

Together with Segin (magnitude 3.4) these stars make up the familiar ‘W’ shape of this constellation. Alioth and Polaris act, as pointers to it, but it is so distinctive that it will be recognized without a slightest difficulty.

Star Visual Magnitude Spectrum Absolute Magnitude Distance (Lt Years)
SHEDIR Variable KO -1.1 150
CHAPH 2.26 F2 1.6 45
TSIH Variable BO -0.3 96
RUCHBAH 2.67 A5 2.1 43

Shedir is a reddish irregular variable star, usually slightly brighter than it’s companion. Its average magnitude is 2.2. Taih is an extraordinary star, fluctuating between magnitude 1.5 and 3.25. It currently is around the same magnitude as Ruchbah. If you do observe Taih and compare it with Ruchbah for several consecutive nights you may notice some change in the relative brilliancy of the two. It is only right to add that for long periods both Taih and Shedir remain virtually steady. Shedir has a ninth magnitude companion, difficult to see with binoculars, but easy with a small telescope. This is another optical double, and not a binary system. The Milky Way runs through Cassiopeia, and glorious star fields may be found by sweeping with binoculars or a low power telescope. Two Messier objects, M52 (NGC 7654) and M103 (NGC 581), are located in Cassiopeia. Both are open clusters and being 7th apparent magnitude objects
they are easy targets with binoculars.