Perseus Constellation: Facts & Myths

A glance at the sky full of stars amazes us to the core and fills us with ecstasy never experienced before, and a mysterious bliss overpowers you. Ever thought why it happens? The reason is the nature’s message which reaches your heart, and you feel elated but wait, your life pumping machine receives the signal but could not decode it. Now imagine the bliss imparted by reception is so exhilarating then what will be the magnitude of happiness when you know nature’s message!

Moon, stars, comets, planets, quasars all are nature’s words in which it expresses itself and its humans’ responsibility to decrypt it and harness nature’s blessings. These are the modes by which nature tries to tell us about our past, our history, what we were and what our future looks like and all the answers to questions which have ever crossed your mind.

Constellations have always been the subject which has engaged human mind since the advent of mankind, as the sheet of shining diamonds was present since eternity over our head and has fascinated every curious mind which was in quest of knowledge. There are hundreds of constellations in the sky lying discovered and undiscovered, and Perseus is one of them.

Perseus Constellation

Perseus has an interesting history, and it was Ptolemy, the Father of eighty-eight subjects who cataloged it in the second century. Perseus is located in the northern sky, after Andromeda and was named after the Greek hero Perseus. It is one of the larger northern constellations and is popular for its Perseid meteor shower. It harbors the famous star Algol, Beta Persei, which is highly variable and adds elegance to this constellation. The Perseus constellation is home to numerous renowned deep sky objects, some of which are Messier 34, the California Nebula (NGC 99), the Double Cluster and the Little Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 76).

Facts about Perseus Constellation

Perseus holds the twenty-fourth position in the sky regarding size and occupies an area of 615 square degrees which is quite large. Perseus is situated in the northern hemisphere in the first quadrant (NQ 1) and is visible at latitudes betwixt +90 degrees and -35 degrees. The giant constellation is a neighbor to AndromedaTriangulumAriesTaurusAurigaCassiopeia and Camelopardalis. When we talk about its family, his herd is his namesake and is also called Perseus and is home to the above said stars along with CepheusCetusLacerta, and Pegasus.

Perseus has two Messier objects- Messier 76 (m76, Little Dumbbell Nebula, NGC 650 and NGC 651) and Messier 34 (M34, NGC 1039) and contains six stars with confirmed planets which is something great for a constellation. The award of the brightest star in Perseus constellation goes to Mirfak, Alpha Persei, with an associated magnitude of 1.79.  The constellation is further decorated with two meteor showers- the Perseids and the September Persides which are queer but wonderful astronomical phenomena.

Greek Mythology and Perseus

Perseus constellation holds an important stance in the Greek mythology and is named after the Greek hero Perseus. He is the son of the daughter of King Acrisius, Danae. King Acrisius ruled Argos and after the prediction that he will meet his end at the hand of his grandson locked Danae in prison. But he could not prevent his end as Zeus fell in love with Danae and came to visit her disguised as golden rain after which she got pregnant, and Perseus was born, who later supported by Zeus, killed his grandfather King Acrisius.

Constellations are not only inanimate objects shining in the sky but hold cultural importance and are representatives of eternity and will be the means to carry our message after we become extinct to the future generations as they go on forever.