July 13 – Gamma Cephei Ab

Gamma Cephei Ab was probably discovered on July 13,  1988 by Bruce Campbell, Gordon Walker and Stephenson Yang. But there was, understandably, a certain amount of uncertainty over whether they had, in fact, discovered the first extra-solar planet, so it wasn’t confirmed until more than a decade later.
The star Gamma Cephei is, of course, in the constellation Cepheus, named after a mythological king of Aethiopia. It is a binary system, comprising Gamma Cephei A, a “K” type star (the next most common type of main sequence star after the “M” types) and B, thought to be a red dwarf.

La Délivrance d'Andromède (1679) by Pierre Mignard.

La Délivrance d’Andromède (1679) by Pierre Mignard.

Today’s visual aid is from the Louvre, Paris, and shows King Cepheus (kneeling) and his queen, Cassiopeia, thanking Perseus for freeing their daughter Andromeda.  Completing the collection of Northern constellations, a certain winged horse can be seen palette-bombing in the background.


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