Cetus is the largest constellation in terms of area in the autumn sky, and is an amorphous collection of faint stars that mark the boundaries of the fabled "Sea Monster" that was sent to attack the beautiful Andromeda to compensate for the boasting of her mother, queen Cassiopeia. Thankfully, the hero Perseus was on hand just in time to save the fair maiden. He killed the sea monster by showing it the decapitated head of the Gorgon Medusa, thus turning Cetus into stone. Poseidon, incensed that his monster was dead, placed it in the sky in a position where it could still threaten Andromeda, and roar its disapproval at Perseus. On old star maps, Cetus is always portrayed as a whale, with huge teeth, a dog’s head and generally frightful appearance, which belies the nature of these gentle creatures. Big, was obviously not always beautiful to the ancients.

Notable Objects

The orange star Beta Ceti or Diphda, the lovely Variable star Mira (O Ceti) Messier 77 an active galaxy