The Whale (lat. Cetus) is with 1,231 square degrees the fourth largest constellation in the sky. Most of its stars are no brighter than the third magnitude, so despite its size it is not particularly noticeable. The special feature of this constellation is the mutablebinary starMira, which consists of a red giant and a white dwarf. It is one of the 48 constellations of antiquity.
How to spot Cetus
Cetus can be observed from both hemispheres, but the greater part extends in the southern hemisphere. In autumn, it can be found betweenAquarius,Pisces,TaurusandEridanus.
In Greek mythology, the whale is Cetus, the sea monster in the history ofAndromeda. Her mother,Cassiopeia, had attracted the wrath of Poseidon when she claimed that she and her daughter were more beautiful than the Nereids. He sent out a sea monster that was to devastate the shores of the kingdom ofCepheus. To protect his people, Cepheus went to an oracle. This told him that he had to sacrifice Andromeda to appease the rage of the Sea God and his wife. So he chained his daughter to a rock who was waiting anxiously for her fate. As Cetus approached the virgin to devour her, the heroPerseusappeared and saved her from death. To commemorate this story, all those involved were put in the sky as a constellation.