Perseus (constellation)

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Perseus
Constellation
Perseus
List of stars in Perseus
AbbreviationPer
GenitivePersei
Pronunciation/ˈpɜrsəs/ or /ˈpɜrsjuːs/;
genitive /ˈpɜrs./
SymbolismPerseus
Right ascension3 h
Declination+45°
QuadrantNQ1
Area615 sq. deg. (24th)
Main stars6, 22
Bayer/Flamsteed
stars
65
Stars with planets7
Stars brighter than 3.00m5
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly)0
Brightest starα Per (Mirfak) (1.79m)
Nearest starGJ 3182
(33.62 ly, 10.31 pc)
Messier objects2
Meteor showersPerseids
September Perseids
Bordering
constellations
Aries
Taurus
Auriga
Camelopardalis
Cassiopeia
Andromeda
Triangulum
Visible at latitudes between +90° and −35°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of December.
 
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Perseus
Constellation
Perseus
List of stars in Perseus
AbbreviationPer
GenitivePersei
Pronunciation/ˈpɜrsəs/ or /ˈpɜrsjuːs/;
genitive /ˈpɜrs./
SymbolismPerseus
Right ascension3 h
Declination+45°
QuadrantNQ1
Area615 sq. deg. (24th)
Main stars6, 22
Bayer/Flamsteed
stars
65
Stars with planets7
Stars brighter than 3.00m5
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly)0
Brightest starα Per (Mirfak) (1.79m)
Nearest starGJ 3182
(33.62 ly, 10.31 pc)
Messier objects2
Meteor showersPerseids
September Perseids
Bordering
constellations
Aries
Taurus
Auriga
Camelopardalis
Cassiopeia
Andromeda
Triangulum
Visible at latitudes between +90° and −35°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of December.

Perseus is a constellation in the northern sky, named after the Greek hero Perseus. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union. It contains the famous variable star Algol (β Per), and is also the location of the radiant of the annual Perseids meteor shower.

Contents

Notable features

Deep-sky objects

Perseus carrying the head of Medusa the Gorgon, as depicted in Urania's Mirror,[5] a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825.

Meteor showers

The Perseids, an annual meteor shower, radiate from Perseus in late summer.

The September Epsilon Perseids are a recently discovered meteor shower with a parent body in the Oort cloud.[6]

History

The Greek constellation may be an adaptation of the Babylonian constellation known as the Old Man (MUL.SHU.GI) which is associated with East (as a cardinal direction) in the MUL.APIN, an astronomical compilation dating to around 1000 BCE.[7]

In Greek mythology, Perseus was the son of Danae, who became the hero who slew Medusa. He later used the Gorgon's head to rescue the princess Andromeda from the monster Cetus.[2]

In non-Western astronomy

Four Chinese constellations existed in the area of the sky now assigned to Perseus. T'ien-tchouen, translated as the "Celestial Boat", was the third paranatellon of the third house of the White Tiger of the West. It represented the boats that Chinese people were reminded to build in case of a catastrophic flood season. Tsi-choui, translated as the "Swollen Waters", was the fourth paranatellon of the third house of the White Tiger of the West. It represented the potential of unusually high floods during the beginning of the flood season, which commenced at the end of August and beginning of September. Ta-ling, translated as the "Great Trench", was the fifth paranatellon of the third house of the White Tiger of the West. It represented the trenches where criminals executed en masse in August were interred. The pile of corpses prior to their interment was represented by Tsi-chi (Algol), the sixth paranatellon of the third house of the White Tiger.[2]

The Double Cluster, h and χ Persei, had special significance in Chinese astronomy. Known as Hsi and Ho, the two clusters represented two astronomers who failed to predict a total solar eclipse and were beheaded thereafter.[2]

Visualizations

Traditionally, the stars of Perseus are visualized as forming a 'Y' shape.

Diagram of H.A. Rey's alternative way to connect the stars of the constellation Perseus.

H.A. Rey has suggested an alternative way to connect the stars into the shape of a man. Perseus' body is formed by the stars β Per, κ Per, ι Per, α Per, σ Per, ν Per, and ε Per. α Per and β Per are of the second magnitude. The star ε Per is of the third magnitude. The stars α Per, γ Per, τ Per, and ι Per form Perseus' head: gamma Persei is of the third magnitude. Stars γ Per, η Per, and τ Per form Perseus' cap. The stars α Per, ψ Per, δ Per, 48 Per, μ Per, and λ Per form Perseus' left arm and hand: δ Per being of the third magnitude. The stars ι Per, θ Per, and φ Per form the right arm and hand. Perseus' right hand, φ Per, is yanking at one of Andromeda's feet (51 Andromedae), intent on liberating her. Stars ε Per, ξ Per, ζ Per, and ο Per form Perseus' left leg and foot: ζ Per being of the third magnitude. Finally, stars β Per, ρ Per, 16 Per (with π Per) form Perseus' right leg and foot.

See also

References

  1. ^ Levy, David H. (2005), Deep Sky Objects, Prometheus Books, ISBN 1-59102-361-0 
  2. ^ a b c d Staal 1988, pp. 19-26
  3. ^ Levy 2005, p. 86.
  4. ^ a b Wilkins, Jamie; Dunn, Robert (2006). 300 Astronomical Objects: A Visual Reference to the Universe (1st ed.). Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books. ISBN 978-1-55407-175-3. 
  5. ^ Ianridpath.com
  6. ^ Jenniskens, Peter (September 2012). "Mapping Meteoroid Orbits: New Meteor Showers Discovered". Sky & Telescope: 22. 
  7. ^ Dalley, Stephanie (1998). The legacy of Mesopotamia. Oxford University Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-19-814946-0. 


External links

Coordinates: Sky map 03h 00m 00s, +45° 00′ 00″