Planet Earth
International Astronomical Union WGSN

IAU: Cepheus

Profile / Characteristics

English translationLatin declination and pronunciationsSize/ °²# stars
the KingCepheus – SEE-fyoos, SEE-fee-us, SEF-ee-us
Cephei – SEE-fee-eye, SEF-ee-eye

Ancient Globes

Farnese Globe

Kugel Globe

Mainz Globe

Ancient Lore & Meaning


[179] Nor all unnamed shall rest he hapless family of Iasid Cepheus. For their name, too has come unto heaven, for that they were near akin to Zeus. Cepheus himself is set behind the Bear Cynosura, [308?] Then, too, at the close of night Cynosura’s head runs very high, but Orion just before the dawn wholly sets and Cepheus from hand to waist.

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

Online available: translation by Mair (1921) 


he is the father of Andromeda, who sacrificed his daughter to a sea monster

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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