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Cassiopeia constellation is a beauty to behold!

Cassiopeia constellation is a beauty to behold!

The Bubble Nebula — a standout deep sky feature in the Cassiopeia constellation – stuns in this image from astrophotographer Douglas Struble. This emission nebula is located near the open star cluster Messier 52. Struble captured this image using Explore Scientific’s ED152 Air-Spaced Triplet in Carbon Fiber. For additional technical details, visit

Explore Cassiopeia:

In mythology, Cassiopeia was a vain creature undone by her arrogance. But the circumpolar constellation that bears her name certainly has some celestial beauties worth boasting about. Visible from 90° North to 20° South, Cassiopeia is known for the striking “W”-shaped asterism that is formed by its five brightest stars. The yellow-white giant Beta Cassiopeiae anchors one end of the “W.” Also known as Caph, this star is one of the brightest Delta Scuti type variables to grace the sky and has an average apparent magnitude of 2.27. The next point in the “W” is the orange giant Schedar (Alpha Cassiopeiae), which marks the heart of the doomed queen. The brilliant blue Gamma Cassiopeiae lies at the center of the famous asterism. Categorized as an eruptive variable, this star can outshine both Schedar and Caph when its intensity peaks. Nicknamed Navi by U.S. Astronaut Gus Grissom because of its usefulness as a navigational point in space, Gamma Cassiopeiae has a bulging equator due to rapid rotation and is also a spectroscopic binary. The next point in the “W” is Delta Cassiopeiae, which is an eclipsing binary that is also identified as Ruchbah. Its apparent magnitude varies between 2.68 and 2.74. The last star that defines the asterism is Epsilon Cassiopeiae, which is also known as Segin. Located about 440 light years away, this blue-white giant shines from its post with an apparent magnitude of 3.38. The queen’s notable stellar offerings continue beyond the five that define her most recognizable feature. Best viewed with a telescope, Eta Cassiopeiae is a beautiful binary star system with a yellow dwarf primary component that is much like our own star and an orange dwarf companion. Cassiopeia is also home to two stars in the very rare yellow hypergiant class - Rho Cassiopeiae and V509 Cassiopeiae. Although they are each located thousands of light years from Earth, their extreme luminosity keeps them visible to the naked eye.

The reflection nebula IC59 (left) and the emission nebula IC 63 make a stunning pairing in this image by astrophotographer Mike Wiles. The glow in the upper left corner that the nebulae are basking in comes from the brilliant blue spectroscopic binary Gamma Cassiopeiae. The star, which is categorized as an eruptive variable, was nicknamed “Navi” by U.S. Astronaut Gus Grissom because of its usefulness as a navigational point in space. To get this image, Wiles used an Explore Scientific ED152 f/8 refractor telescope, an SBIG ST-8300M camera and an integration time of 12 hours. For additional technical details, visit

A quick tour of Cassiopeia’s deep sky offerings has to begin with the open cluster Messier 52. Although it can be enjoyed with binoculars, a moderate-sized telescope will reveal it as a fan of faint stars that includes a couple of bright yellow giants – one of which pops out from the cluster’s southwestern edge. A far more remote open cluster is Messier 103, which is best viewed through binoculars due to its loose structure. Located near Ruchbah, the cluster, which includes a red giant that truly shines in photographs, will manifest as a hazy V-shaped patch. Another treat is the “The White Rose Cluster,” which is also known as “Caroline’s Rose Cluster” because it was discovered by famed astronomer Caroline Herschel. The cluster’s pattern of bright stars and dark paths is similar to the curves and valleys of a blooming rose. The constellation also offers the Bubble Nebula, which is an emission nebula southwest of M52; the open star cluster NGC 457, which has around 100 stars and is sometimes called the Owl Cluster or ET Cluster due to an eye-like pairing of two bright stars; the irregular galaxy IC 10, which is the only starburst galaxy in our local group; and the Pacman Nebula, an emission nebula with an open cluster of brilliant blue supergiants at its core and several Bok globules.


The White Rose Cluster blooms in this image astrophotographer Mike Wiles took using an Explore Scientific ED152 f/8 refractor telescope. Featuring bright stars intermingled with dark paths, the open star cluster is located in the Cassiopeia Constellation and is also known as “Caroline’s Rose Cluster” due to its discovery by famed astronomer Caroline Herschel. The imaging camera was a SBIG ST-8300M and the integration time was 8 hours. For additional technical details, visit

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