Cassieopeia is a constellation that can be viewed in the Northern Hemisphere nearly year round. Right now, in the sky over the US, she is very visible. That is why I've decided to write about her. She is very easy to pick out. Nearly as easy to spot as Orion at  his most visible and the Dippers.

As you can see, Cassiopeia makes what looks like a "W" in the sky. The four brightest stars are Sheddir (which is actually a double star), Caph, alphabetically labeled Gamma Cassiopeiae (a beautiful "shell" star) and Ruchbah.

The constellation contains many deep sky objects from open sky clusters to nebulae. But, there are many others including two supernova remnants. It's a busy place.. In December, Cassieopeia also hosts a meteor shower appropriately called (and newly discovered) "December Phi Cassiopeiids". These make a good excuse to build a small bonfire in the frosty month and admire the outdoors.

Cassiopeia bears it's namesake from Greek mythology. Queen Cassiopeia was the wife of Cepheus (the King of Ethiopia) and the mother of Andromeda. Mythology claims that the Queen was extemely vain and this ultimately led to her eternal punishment of being thrust into the night sky.

I've heard two versions of the story. One is that Cassiopeia claimed herself to be more beautiful than the Nereids. The Nereids were the sea nymph children of the Sea God Nereus. The other version has Cassiopeia claiming her daughter, Andromeda, to be more beautiful than the Nymphs.

Either way, whether the comment referred to the Queen or her daughter, Nereus was not thrilled. In turn, this infuriated Poseidon, the ruling God of the Sea. It's never a good idea to tick off a God..and definitely not a Sea God who has a plethora of wrath at his disposal..including a horrid Sea Monster by the name of Cetus.

Cetus is also referred to as "The Kraken" if you are familiar with the movie "Clash of the Titans"

In an effort to appease Poseidon and end his reign of terror upon Ethiopia, Cassiopeia and Cetus declare they will tie their daughter, Andromeda, to a rock and sacrifice her to Cetus. However, Perseus, who also killed Medusa, ruins that attempt by saving Andromeda and killing Cetus (aka: The Kraken).

Therefore, Poseidon chains Cassiopeia to her throne and thrusts her into the sky dooming her to an eternity orbitting the Nothern Pole. The majority of which she spends upside down with her skirt over her head..which is quite an embarrassing postion to be in for eternity...particularly for a vain Queen.

The constellation of Cassiopeia is close to the constellation of Cepheus and Andromeda. As a matter of fact, Cassiopeia and Cepheus are the only married couple to be thrust into the sky next to eachother. So, even though she is in quite the predicament, at least she remains close to her loved ones.

There is also reference to the constellation in one of my favorite movies, Serendipity. As a matter of fact, this movie is what brough my attention to the constellation and the legend of the Queen. Enjoy.