Cetus is a very large constellation. It is best viewed from October through January.
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The constellation Cetus represents the Sea Monster. It is one of the largest constellations known. Even the ancient people of Mesopotamia recognized this large constellation.
They believed the figure was Tiamot, a magical dragon that was slain by the hero, Marduk.
In classical civilizations, the figure was the giant sea monster that almost ate Andromeda. King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia were forced leave their daughter chained to a cliff. When the monster came up to eat her, the hero Perseus defeated him and later married Andromeda.
Because Cetus is so large, there are only a few months that the complete figure is visible in the sky. Look for Cetus from October through January. His head is a circle near the constellation Taurus. His long body stretches towards the southwest. The larger circle in the constellation is the tail, not the body!
The brightest star in Cetus is called Deneb Kaitos, which is a combonation of Greek and Arabic that means "tail of the sea monster". It is located in the lower right corner of the constellation. The first variable star ever discovered is in the Sea Monster. It is called Mira, and was discovered in 1596 by David Fabricius. Mira is located right in the middle of the body.
Cetus does not lie near the Milky Way, which means that dimmer galaxies that can't normally be seen are clearly visible. A few galaxies and one nebula are located near the top of the circle that makes up Cetus' tail.
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