Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 21:21:53 Posted by  Bobby

 Mythology of Perseus

Perseus represents the mythological Greek hero who decapitated the fearsome Medusa, whose gaze could turn men to stone. On his way back from this exploit, Perseus rescued Andromeda from the jaws of a sea monster. In the sky, Perseus lies next to Andromeda and her mother, Cassiopea, forming part of a great tableau depicting this most famous of Greek myths. Perseus is represented by brandishing his sword in his right hand, marked by the twin star clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884, while in his left hand he holds the head of Medusa, marked by the star Beta Persei, better known as Algol. A rich part of the Milky Way runs through Perseus, making it an attractive constellation for binocular users.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Hero
  • Pronounced: PURR-see-us
  • Genitive: Persei
  • Abbreviation: Per
  • Highest in the Sky: November to December
  • Size Ranking: 24th
  • Coverage Area: 615 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 3 hours
  • Declination: 45°
  • Visibility: 90°N to 29°S

 Notable Objects

  • Double Cluster: Double open clusters
  • M34: Open cluster
  • M76: Cork Nebula
  • NGC 1499: California Nebula

 Named Stars

  • Mirfak, Alpha Persei
  • Algol, Beta Persei
  • Miram, Eta Persei
  • Misam, Kappa Persei
  • Menkib, Xi Persei
  • Atik, Omicron Persei

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

Alpha Persei

 A yellow-white super giant of magnitude 1.8, the brightest star in the constellation. It is a prominent member of a large and loose cluster of stars known as Melotte 20, visible with binoculars, which lies about 600 light-years away.

Beta Persei (Algol)

 A famous eclipsing binary star consisting of a close pair of stars in orbit around each other. When the brighter star is eclipsing the fainter one, every 2 days and 21 hours, the magnitude drops from 2.1 to 3.4 for about 10 hours.

Rho Persei

 A variable red giant. Due to changes in size, it varies from magnitude 3.3 to 4.0 in a cycle lasting about 7 weeks.


 An open cluster about 1,500 light-years away. It is visible with binoculars or a small telescope and appears about the same size as the full Moon. The cluster's brightest stars are of 7th magnitude.

NGC 869 and NGC 884 (The Double Cluster)

 Two open clusters just visible to the naked eye; an excellent sight through binoculars or a small telescope. Each cluster covers about the same area of sky as the full Moon.


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