Perseus (Pronounciation:Per-see-us, Abbrev:Per, Latin:Persei) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Perseus takes up 614.997 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.49% of the night sky. Perseus is the 24th largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation name means Perseus . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.
There are 11 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 1980 stars. There are 99 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
Perseus is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Perseus is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.
There are 5 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Perseus. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Perseus is S Persei.
There are 2 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 1 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.
The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.
You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 89.93 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 1,244.90 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 531.51 light years.
The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.
The nearest star to Earth is Iota Persei which is roughly about 34.38 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 22781 which is about 106.9 Light Years.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 20867 and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Perseus with the naked eye is 7 Persei. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.99. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.
Algol is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It was said to wink so its name Algol was derived from the Arabic Al-ghul meaning demon. The star became one of the first stars to be identified as being a variable star, one in which its magnitude changes. If you got close enough, you would see it change size too.
Perseus can be seen all year round in the northern hemisphere. There is a caveat in that part of the constellation, the feet will disappear in May - June. The more south you are, the more of the constellation will disappear. If you are in Washington D.C., the majority of the constellation will disappear in May - June.
Perseus will make an appearance in the south (Syndey) in September near an North Easterly direction. It will not make a full appearance, for you to see Perseus fully, you will need to travel a little further north, say to Darwin when it can be fully seen in November to January inclusive.
Perseus was the son of the God Zeus and Danae. Danae was the daughter of Acrisius whose jealously over his brothers Proetus infatuation with her caused him to lock her away. Acrisius believed the boy would be the death of him so he locked both her and the son in an ark and set them off down the river. When the ark came to a rest on Seriphos, kingdom of Polydectes, the mother and child was released by Dictys, a fisherman. The boy grew to be an athletic man known as Perseus. The King Polydectes fell in love with Danae but she refused his hand. The King told Perseus to bring him the head of a Gorgon thinking it would get rid of Perseus.
He was given winged sandals and a sickle in which to kill Medusa, the famous Gorgon by Hermes and Athena respectively. He searched for and found the Graeae, three witches who share a tooth and an eye. He got hold of those items and promised only to return them if he got what he wanted. He wanted to know how to find the Nymphs of the North. The witches obliged and he returned their items. When he found the Nymphs, he was given a cloak which would make him invisible. They also told him how to get to Medusa's lair. He set off once more for the Lair. Using the cloak, he crept into the lair. Using only the reflection from the shield, he was able to use it to work out when Medusa was near enough to kill her by chopping off her head. Once that had been done, he put the head into a bag and left. On his return journey, he noticed a naked ( well, she would be naked wouldn't she, think of the poor creature, he has no hands to get the wrapping off. ) woman tied to a rock. He swooped down and used the head of Medusa to turn Cetus to stone. After rescuing the maiden, he flies off and gains her hand in marriage. The story is immortalised in the film 'Clash of the Titans' with a few differences...
There are 11 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|Daytime Zeta Perseids||20 May- 5 Jul||09-Jun||Zeta Persei|
|Perseids||July 23-August 22||Aug. 12/13||Miram|
|September Epsilon Perseids||5 Sep- 21 Sep||09-Sep||Epsilon Persei|
The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Perseus Star List page.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Mirfak||Alpha Persei||506.46||03h 24m 19.35||+49d 51` 40.5||F5Ib||Yellow/White|
|Algol||Beta Persei||89.93||03h 08m 10.13||+40d 57` 20.3||B8V||Blue/White|
|Gamma Persei||Gamma Persei||243.22||03h 04m 47.79||+53d 30` 23.2||G8III+...||Yellow|
|Delta Persei||Delta Persei||516.08||03h 42m 55.48||+47d 47` 15.6||B5III SB||Blue/White|
|Epsilon Persei||Epsilon Persei||638.28||03h 57m 51.22||+40d 00` 37.0||B0.5V||Blue/White|
|Zeta Persei||Zeta Persei||751.53||03h 54m 07.92||+31d 53` 01.2||B1Ib||Blue/White|
|Miram||Eta Persei||879.15||02h 50m 41.79||+55d 53` 43.9||K3Ib comp SB||Orange|
|Misam||Kappa Persei||112.74||03h 09m 29.63||+44d 51` 28.4||K0III||Orange|
|Nu Persei||Nu Persei||556.59||03h 45m 11.64||+42d 34` 42.8||F5IIvar||Yellow/White|
|Menkib||Xi Persei||1244.90||03h 58m 57.90||+35d 47` 27.7||O7.5Iab:||Blue|
|Gorgonea Tertia||Rho Persei||307.70||03h 05m 10.50||+38d 50` 25.9||M3IIIvar||Red|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Area||614.997 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||1.49%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||5|
|Meteor Shower Count||11|
|Nearest Star||Iota Persei|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 22781|
|Largest Star||S Persei|
|Dimmest Star||7 Persei|
|Furthest Star||HIP 20867|
|Bright Star Count||99|
|Hipparcos Star Count||1980|
|Main Star Count||11|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||2|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Cassiopeia|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|4C 37.11||Seyfert Galaxy||750,000,000||+38d 03` 32.236||04h 05m 49m 2624|
|California Nebula||Emission Nebula||36:25:18||04h 03h 18|
|IC 348||Star-Forming Nebula||1,028||+32:09.8||03h 44h 34|
|Messier 34 (NGC1039)||Open Star Cluster||1500||+42:47||02h 42m 0|
|NGC 1275||Seyfert Galaxy||222,000,000||41:30:$2||03h 19h 48m 1|
|NGC 1277||Galaxy in a Group of Galaxies||+41 34 24.26||03 19 51m 488|
|NGC 1491||Bright Nebula||+51 18 54||04 03 15m 9|
|NGC 1582||Open Star Cluster||+43 50 43||04 32 15m 4|
|NGC 884||Open Star Cluster||7,600||57:08||02h 22|
|SN 1961V||Supernova Remnant||+37 20 43.6||02 43 36m 42|
|The Little Dumbell, Cork or Butterfly Nebula (M76, NGC650)||Planetary Nebula||2500||+51:34||01h 42m 4|
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