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This page shows the constellation of Cepheus -- the king. This constellation is high in the late summer and autumn, and reaches from Cygnus to the celestial pole.
The milky way passes through Cepheus and it contains many stars and several nebulae and interesting objects.
This picture shows the whole constellation, including milky way starfields and various areas of nebulosity. The red object to the upper left is NGC 7762 (upper/right section) and Cederblad 214 (brighter section to the left). At the centre bottom of the picture is a large round nebula known as IC 1396.
The bright star immediately above IC 1396 in the picture is mu Cephei, and moving to the left you see a slightly brighter star, Sigma. Moving just up-and-left of that star is a not-quite-as-bright one, Delta. This is an important star for astronomers since it is the prototype "Cepheid Variable". This is a type of star that changes its brightness according to a regular pattern, and the brightness is directly related to the period of variation. Hence the absolute brightness can be determined. Once the absolute brightness of a star is known, the apparent brightness of the star in the sky can be used to calculate the star's distance. Cepheid-type variables have been found all over the sky, even in other galaxies, and are used as "standard candles" to determine their distance.
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