β Ceti


Beta Ceti (Deneb Kaitos, The Tail of the Beast, or Whale) is the brightest star in this constellation, with a visual magnitude of 2.0.

Beta Ceti is found easily with the naked eye south of Alpheratz (alpha Andromedae) or southwest of Menkar: finding the beast's tail.

The bright spiral galaxy NGC 247 (which needs a medium-sized telescope) is two and a half degrees to the south-southeast of beta.

The rest of our visit of Cetus will be to visit five binaries, all fairly close to beta.

First of all, three and a half binocular fields east of beta (or two binocular fields southwest of zeta Ceti) will bring tau Ceti into view. In the same field is h2052, a fine binocular binary: 6.9, 7.5; 114, 81".

Back to beta, now with beta Ceti at the bottom of your glasses, move one binocular field north to find the four phis. This is just a signal post along the way, the stars seem to make an arrow, pointing to the next stop. So move one and a half fields northwest and you are at iota.

The double star here, at the southeastern edge of your field, is h1981, another fine binocular double: 6.9, 8.4; 88, 78.5"

Finally, from iota move slightly more than one field northeast and you will find Struve 39.

Struve 39 is a multiple system:
      AC: 7.1, 8.6; 44, 16.6"
      AD: 1.7, 10.0; 159, 203"

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.