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Perseus, Perseus Constellation Facts and Mythology

Perseus Constellation Star Map

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.

The distance to Perseus is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Perseus is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

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.

Perseus Star Facts

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.

Iota Persei, Nearest Star

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.

HIP 20867, Furthest Star

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.

7 Persei, Dimmest Visible Star

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

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 Mythology

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...

Meteor Showers Radiating from Perseus

There are 13 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.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Daytime Zeta Perseids20 May- 5 Jul09-JunZeta Persei
PerseidsJuly 23-August 22Aug. 12/13Miram
September PerseidsSep 05 - Sep 17 Sep 09Epsilon Persei
September Epsilon Perseids5 Sep- 21 Sep09-SepEpsilon Persei

List of Main Stars in Perseus

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.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
MirfakAlpha Persei506.4603h 24m 19.35+49d 51` 40.5F5IbYellow/White
AlgolBeta Persei89.9303h 08m 10.13+40d 57` 20.3B8VBlue/White
Gamma PerseiGamma Persei243.2203h 04m 47.79+53d 30` 23.2G8III+...Yellow
Delta PerseiDelta Persei516.0803h 42m 55.48+47d 47` 15.6B5III SBBlue/White
Epsilon PerseiEpsilon Persei638.2803h 57m 51.22+40d 00` 37.0B0.5VBlue/White
Zeta PerseiZeta Persei751.5303h 54m 07.92+31d 53` 01.2B1IbBlue/White
MiramEta Persei879.1502h 50m 41.79+55d 53` 43.9K3Ib comp SBOrange
MisamKappa Persei112.7403h 09m 29.63+44d 51` 28.4K0IIIOrange
Nu PerseiNu Persei556.5903h 45m 11.64+42d 34` 42.8F5IIvarYellow/White
MenkibXi Persei1244.9003h 58m 57.90+35d 47` 27.7O7.5Iab:Blue
Gorgonea TertiaRho Persei307.7003h 05m 10.50+38d 50` 25.9M3IIIvarRed

Perseus Facts


NamePerseus
AbbreviationPer
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
Largest StarS Persei
Brightest StarAlgol
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
Andromeda
Triangulum
Aries
Taurus
Auriga
Camelopardalis

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



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


NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
4C 37.11Seyfret Galaxy750 Million LY+38d 03` 32.23604h 05m 49m 2624
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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