Pin It

How to Find Cassiopeia 

by Cara Gardner

Whether you're trying to impress someone or are tired of only being able to see the Big and Little Dippers when contemplating the night sky, knowing how to find a constellation is a good thing. Cassiopeia is easy to find because it's shaped like a "W" -- or sometimes an "M," depending on its position in the sky -- and you can see it all year long. If you use a telescope, you'll also get the benefits of seeing the nebulae (star dust), star clusters and even galaxies within the constellation. Cassiopeia is high overhead to the north-northeast. First, find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. Now, focus in on the point where the handle of the Big Dipper meets its cup. Draw an imaginary line from that point straight through the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper (the star Polaris); that imaginary line will swipe right through Cassiopeia. Its shape should become clear.

Finding Cassiopeia doesn't do much good if you don't know the myth behind the constellation. The Roman myth has multiple variations, but goes something like this: The ancient Ethiopian queen Cassiopeia thought she was more beautiful than all sea nymphs, especially the daughter of Poseidon, god of the sea. To punish her for her arrogance, Poseidon chained Cassiopeia's daughter, Andromeda, to a rock on the coast as an offering to a sea monster. Andromeda was saved, but Cassiopeia was banned to the sky, hanging half of the time with her head downward, signifying her eternal humility.

Publication date: 06/10/04

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Buried in the Headlines
  • Buried in the Headlines

    Big stories largely ignored by the mainstream media
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • A Sense 
of Détente
  • A Sense of Détente

    In only two months, the seemingly intractable battle between mayor and council has turned into an exuberant truce
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Not Green Enough
  • Not Green Enough

    State says no carbon exemption for Spokane Waste-to-Energy Plant; plus, settlement reached in Priest River high school football concussion lawsuit
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival

Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival @ Riverfront Park

Through Oct. 30

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Cara Gardner

  • Pride or Prejudice?

    Jim West may have overcompensated for his closeted sexual identity by voting against gay rights legislation. But how are his fellow Republicans dealing with the news that the powerful conservative has admitted to sexual relationships with
    • Jul 8, 2005
  • Weapon of Mass Doubt

    Scott Ritter has been called "an honest man lost in Washington" by Forbes and "the most famous renegade Marine officer" by the New York Times. A former marine captain and the former chief weapons inspector for Unscom, the agency in charge
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • Plaintiffs Speak

    For many, the current hearings in the Washington Supreme Court regarding marriage equality are interesting side notes in the ongoing battle over the right of homosexuals to marry legally. But for Marge Ballack and Diane Lantz, two plaintif
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Defending North Idaho

    Why Heather Scott must go
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • The Do-Over

    After failing to pass a bus service tax hike last year, Spokane Transit Authority has a plan to get you to vote for it again
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


green zone


trail mix

Readers also liked…

  • The Price of Progress
  • The Price of Progress

    Why the Spokane Tribe says it's still owed for Grand Coulee Dam
    • Apr 1, 2015
  • Whitman Privilege
  • Whitman Privilege

    Why Walla Walla's Whitman College has come under fire for having so few low-income students
    • Apr 22, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation