CASSIOPEIA the Queen of Ethiopia, pronounced KASS-ee-oh-PEE-uh
CAMELOPARDUS (also spelt CAMELOPARDALIS) the Giraffe, pronounced kah-MEL-oh-PAR-dis or kah-MEL-oh-PAR-dal-iss

Chart showing the constellations.

Only the most southerly parts of Cassiopeia rise above the horizon in northern New Zealand. None of the brighter stars are visible.

Cassiopeia was the legendry beautiful and boastful Queen of Ethiopia, wife of King Cepheus and mother of Andromeda. She is depicted sitting in a chair in the sky. From the northern hemisphere, the constellation is easily recognized by its distorted "W" shape.

Camelopardus, the Giraffe, is a faint and obscure constellation invented by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius, but came into prominence through a book by the German mathematician Jakob Bartsch, a son-in-law of Johannes Kepler, who also named Colomba and Monoceros.

These constellations are practically impossible to see from New Zealand. The horizon shown is for Auckland. Astronomers from North Cape will be able to see a little more of the constellations, conversely stargazers from locations more south in New Zealand would be able to see less.

Chart showing the constellations.
The view is to the north, towards the end of December. The horizon is for Auckland.

Cassiopeia and Camelopardus.

Constellation Pisces Constellation Perseus Constellation Auriga Constellation Taurus Constellation Gemini Constellation Aries Constellation Andromeda Constellation Triangulum

Details of some of the objects shown in the chart.

α Cassiopeiæ (Schedar) is a magnitude 2.2 red star, 230 light years away.

β Cas (Caph) is a magnitude 2.3 yellow star, 55 light years away.

γ Cas is a magnitude 2.2 white star, 610 light years away.

δ Cas (Ruchbah) is a magnitude 2.7 star, 100 light years away.


The most southerly parts of Cassiopeia are visible from the North Island of New Zealand. They are highest in mid November at about 10.30 pm (NZDT). α Cas remains about 3° below the horizon as seen from Auckland and is immediately below (north of) M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. The most southerly bright star of the constellation, π Cas (mag 5.0), rises to 6° at Auckland, but is only just above the horizon at Wellington.

Camelopardus is all but entirely unobservable from the latitude of New Zealand. A sliver of the constellation rises for places north of Auckland, and in mid January graze along the northern horizon at about 10.30 pm (NZDT). From Cape Reinga the most southerly, 5th magnitude, stars get to be about 2.5° up.