We’re at Q in our heavenly bodies A-Z challenge tour. Since there are no constellations or planets that begin with a Q and since I don’t really understand things like quasars (which don’t really fall under the “heavenly bodies” category as I am interpreting them), I’m going to cheat just a bit. At Andromeda someone suggested that they bet C would be Cassiopeia, but they were wrong because I had anticipated this problem and saved Cassiopeia for now. Today’s heavenly body is “Queen Cassiopeia,” the wife of Cepheus (we explored him under the letter K for King Cepheus). Cassiopeia is a heavenly body in the beauty since, for she thought she was the most beautiful woman ever which, as we saw when exploring Andromeda, got her and her husband and their kingdom in trouble.
Cassiopeia is easy to spot. She is the W or the M (depending on which side of the Celestial Pole the constellation is at) that circles the pole and in the middle northern latitudes can be seen all year. She is on the far side of pole from the Big Dipper. Although a queen, the five bright stars making up the W are not a crown as one would think…
In addition to being a queen, other cultures have seen different things. In the Middle East, the stars have been seen as a women’s hand and a camel. Lapplanders understood it to be a moose antler. In Siberia, the five bright stars were seen as five reindeer (and as it is over the pole, maybe they belong to Santa, but we’re missing a few). In the Marshall Islands, the “W” of Cassiopeia was seen as the back fins of a huge porpoise (that extended out, borrowing stars from the constellations Perseus, Andromeda, Triangulum and Aries).
Have you ever seen Cassiopeia? Do you think of her as a W or a M?