Planet Earth
International Astronomical Union WGSN

IAU: Cassiopeia

Profile / Characteristics

English translationLatin declination and pronunciationsSize/ °²# stars
the Seated QueenCassiopeia – CASS-ee-uh-PEE-uh
Cassiopeiae – CASS-ee-uh-PEE-ye

Ancient Globes

Farnese Globe

Kugel Globe

Mainz Globe

Ancient Lore & Meaning


[188] Eastward his hapless wife, Cassiepeia, gleaming when by night the moon is full, wheels with her scanty stars. For few and alternate stars adorn her, which expressly mark her form with lines of light. Like the key of a twofold door barred within, wherewith men striking shoot back the bolts, so singly set shine her stars. But from her shoulders so faint she stretches a fathom’s length. Thou would’st say she was sorrowing over her daughter. [650?] The hapless Cassiepeia herself too hastes after the figure of her child. No longer in seemly wise does she shine upon her throne, feet and knees withal, but she headlong plunges like a diver, parted at the knees; for not scatheless was she to rival Doris and Panope. So she is borne towards the West,

English translation by Douglas Kidd (1997).
Aratus: Phaenomena, Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, Series Number 34

Online available: translation by Mair (1921) 


according to Euripides: vain mother of Andromeda who competed with the Nereids in beauty; she is depicted on a throne

French translation by:
Jordi Pàmias i Massana and Arnaud Zucker (2013). Ératosthènes de Cyrène – Catastérismes, Les Belles Lettres, Paris

English version in:
Robin Hard (2015): Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus’s Phaenomena, Oxford World’s Classics

Early Modern Interpretation


As one of their first tasks in the 1920s, the newly founded International Astronomical Union (IAU) established constellation standards. The Belgian astronomer Eugène Delporte was assigned to the task to define borders of constellations parallel to lines of declination and right ascension. They were accepted by the General Assembly in 1928. The standardized names and abbreviations had already been accepted in 1922 and 1925.  

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