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Perseus, Perseus Constellation

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. The constellation gets its name as it 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.

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.

The brightest star in Perseus is Algol. 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. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Perseus Star List Page.

Perseus Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Perseus is 1980. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 99. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 11.

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.

Stars of Interest

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 can be located in the constellation is HIP 20867 which is located about 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

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.

Constellation Legend

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 no major meteor showers that radiate from within this constellation.

Perseus Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Largest StarS Persei
Brightest StarAlgol
Area614.997 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.49%
Size Position24th
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count5
Meteor Shower Count13
Nearest StarIota Persei
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 22781
Dimmest Star7 Persei
Furthest StarHIP 20867
Bright Star Count99
Hipparcos Star Count1980
Main Star Count11
Messier Deep Space Object Count2
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count1
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCassiopeia

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

Perseus Constellation Map

Perseus Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Perseus

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
California NebulaEmission Nebula36:25:1804h 03h 18
Messier 34 (NGC1039)Open Cluster1500+42:4702h 42m 0
NGC 1277Lenticular Galaxy220 Million LY+41d 34` 2503h 19m 51m 5
The Little Dumbell, Cork or Butterfly Nebula (M76, NGC650)Planetary Nebula2500+51:3401h 42m 4

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