|Right ascension||23 h 56 m 25 s to 03 h 23 m 47 s|
|declination||−24 ° 52 ′ 22 ″ to + 10 ° 30 ′ 52 ″|
|Completely visible||64.8 ° N to 79.8 ° S|
|Observation time for Central Europe||autumn|
|Number of stars brighter than 3 mag||2|
|Brightest star (size)||Deneb Kaitos (2.04)|
clockwise from north )
The whale is a very extensive but not very conspicuous constellation of the autumn sky between the Pisces and the Eridanus River . The largest part extends below the celestial equator , so that in our latitudes it is not particularly high above the horizon .
The constellation does not have a distinct shape, as most of its stars have a brightness less than 3 m and are therefore not very noticeable.
Since the constellation lies below the ecliptic , the sun, moon and planets move over it. For the early Greeks , the stars therefore represented the entrance to the underworld. The constellation was later identified as the sea monster in connection with the legend of Andromeda .
Ptolemy included the constellation in his description of the 48 constellations.
After the Frisian pastor David Fabricius discovered the star o Ceti in the constellation in 1596, Johann Ph. Holwarda recognized in 1639 that the brightness of the star changed significantly over the course of a year. In 1662 he was baptized “ Mira ”, the “miraculous”, by Johann Hevelius . The discovery was of great importance because it refuted the prevailing thesis at the time that the stars were eternal and immutable.
In Greek mythology , the whale was a sea monster, probably Keto or Ketos , to which the beautiful Andromeda , daughter of King Cepheus and Cassiopeia , was to be sacrificed. Cassiopeia had offended the Nereids , the daughters of the sea god Nereus , by claiming that they were even more beautiful. The Nereids turned to the sea god Poseidon and demanded the punishment of the vain Cassiopeia. Poseidon then sent a sea monster to plague the shores of Cepheus' realm. According to an oracle , the beast could only be appeased by sacrificing Andromeda, the only child of the royal couple. Andromeda was chained to a rock and awaited her fate, but was saved at the last moment by the hero Perseus , who killed the beast. As a reward for this he got Andromeda as his wife.
|B.||F.||Names or other designations||size||Lj||Spectral class|
|ο||68||Mira||2.0 m to 10.1 m||417||M7 III|
|β||16||Deneb Kaitos , Diphda, Rama Secunda||2.04 m||96||K0 III|
|α||92||Menkar||2.54 m||220||M1 IIIa|
|η||31||Deneb Algenubi||3.46 m||118||K1 III|
|γ||86||Kaffaljidhm , Al Kaff al Jidhma||3.47 m||82||A2 + G5|
|τ||52||Tau Ceti||3.49 m||11.9||G8 V|
|ι||8th||Shemali||3.56 m||290||K1 III|
|ζ||55||Baten Kaitos (star) , Bunda||3.76 m||260||K0 III|
|υ||59||3.99 m||250||M1 III|
|δ||82||4.08 m||800||B2 IV|
|μ||87||4.27 m||100||F0 IV|
|π||89||4.3 m||300||B7 V|
|ξ 2||73||4.30 m||300||B9 III|
|ξ 1||65||4.36 m|
|χ||53||4.66 m||100||F2 + G1|
|ψ 1||17th||4.77 m|
|37||5.0 m||80||F3 + G7|
|T||5.0 to 6.9 m|
|66||5.5 m||70||F8 + G4|
|γ||3.5 m / 7.3 m||2.8 "|
|κ||4.7 m / 6.8 m||184 "|
|37||5.1 m / 7.9 m||49.7 "|
|66||5.7 m / 7.6 m||41.0 "|
γ Ceti ( Kaffaljidhm ) is a binary star system 82 light years away, which consists of a whitish glowing main star of the spectral class A2 and a yellowish companion of the class G5. The pair of stars can be resolved into single stars with a medium-sized telescope .
κ Ceti is 100 light years away and consists of two stars of the spectral classes F2 and G1. The two stars are at a wide angular distance of 184 arc seconds from the earth and can be seen as single stars even in prism binoculars .
The system 66 Ceti is 70 light years away and consists of two stars of the spectral classes F8 and G4. Due to the angular distance of 16.5 arc seconds, a small telescope is sufficient for separation.
|ο||2.0 to 10.1 m||331.9 days||Pulsation variable|
|T||5.0 to 6.9 m||159 days||semi-regularly changeable|
The star Mira (ο Ceti), 417 light years away, changes its brightness periodically over a period of around 332 days. It can become noticeably bright at a maximum of up to 2 m , at a minimum the brightness can drop to 8 to 10 m . It is then invisible to the naked eye.
The star is the namesake of a group of variable stars , the Mira variable . They are pulsation-changing stars that rhythmically inflate and contract again. Mira stars are red giants or supergiants with a relatively cool surface of 3,000 Kelvin . Their luminosity is 100 times higher than that of our sun, as they can have huge diameters of several billion kilometers.
Messier and NGC objects
|246||8.5 m||Planetary nebula|
|IC 1613||9.2 m||Galaxy|
There are several galaxies in the whale, two of which can already be observed with a smaller telescope.
NGC 246 is a planetary nebula 1,500 light years away . In the telescope it can be seen as a nebulous disk containing two stars of the 12th magnitude . One of the stars is a white dwarf star , the remnant of a star that has shed its outer gas shell.
NGC 247 is an Sd-type spiral galaxy 8 million light years away. It was discovered by Wilhelm Herschel in 1784 . From the earth the galaxy can be seen in edge position. In the telescope it appears as a narrow nebula.