Perseus (constellation)

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Perseus constellation map.png
Latin name Perseus
Latin genitive Persei
Abbreviation By
Right ascension 1293801 h 29 m 38 s to  04 h 51 m 22 s45122
declination 2305519+ 30 ° 55 ′ 19 ″ to  + 59 ° 06 ′ 17 ″2590617
surface 614.997 deg²
rank 24
Completely visible 90 ° N to 31.3 ° S
Observation time for Central Europe autumn
Number of stars brighter than 3 mag 5
Brightest star (size) Mirfak (1.79)
Meteor streams
Neighboring constellations
clockwise from north )
swell IAU ,

The Perseus is a constellation of the northern sky. It is best seen in the autumn and winter skies and lies in the middle of the band of the Milky Way . Its northern stars look like an open star cluster to the naked eye .

In August the shooting stars of the Perseids seem to come from this constellation .


The constellation is said to represent the figure of the Greek hero Perseus , who defeated the deadly Medusa . The stars Mirfak, δ, ε and ζ form the body and a leg of Perseus. The star Algol represents the severed head of Medusa that he is holding in his hand.

Perseus is partially circumpolar in our latitudes , i.e. i.e. visible all year round. It can be observed particularly well in autumn, when it is high above the horizon .

The Milky Way runs through the constellation, although it is not very noticeable here, as numerous dark clouds weaken the light from the stars.

In Perseus there are interesting objects to be observed, such as the open star cluster M 34 and the double star cluster h and Chi Persei .


Perseus is one of the 48 classical constellations described by Ptolemy .

As early as the Middle Ages , Arab astronomers observed the strange darkening of the star Algol. The name is derived from the Arabic Ras al Ghul and means head of the demon .


In Greek mythology , Perseus was the son of Zeus and Danaë . He defeated the deadly gorgon Medusa, whose gaze could turn any living being into stone, and cut off her head. Wearing winged shoes, he saved the beautiful Andromeda , who was to be sacrificed to the sea monster Ketos, chained to a rock , and got her as a wife as a reward.

Andromeda, together with her parents Cepheus and Kassiopeia , as well as the marine animal have also been immortalized in the sky as constellations near Perseus, the latter as the constellation whale (Cetus).

Celestial objects


B. F. Names or other designations size Lj Spectral class
α 33 Mirfak (also Marfak or Algenib ) 1.79 m 592 F5 Ib
β 26th Algol 2.12 to 3.39 m 93 B8 V
ζ 44 2.9 m about 1000 B1 Ib
ε 45 2.90 m 538 B0.5 V
γ 23 2.91 m 256 G8 III
δ 39 3.01 528 B5 III
ρ 25th Gorgonea tertia 3.2 to 4.1 m 325 M3 III
η 15th Miram 3.77 m 1331 K3 Ib
ν 41 3.77 m 557 F5 II
κ 27 Misam 3.79 m 112 K0 III
ο 38 Atik 3.84 m 1476 B1 III
τ 18th 3.93 m 248 G4 III
MX 3.96 m 554 B3 Ve
ξ 46 Menkib 4.0 m about 1000 O7.5
φ 4.01 m 717 B2 Vpe
ι 4.05 m 34 G0 V
θ 4.10 m 37 F7 V
μ 4.12 m 723 G0 Ib
16 4.22 m 128 F2 III
58 4.25 m 642 G8 II
λ 4.25 m 347 A0 IVn
ψ 4.32 m 700 B5 Ve
σ 4.36 m 353 K3 III
17th 4.56 m 409 K5 III
b 4.60 m 318 A2 V
ω Gorgonea Quarta 4.61 m 305 K1 III
34 4.67 m 559 B3 V
52 4.67 m 627 G5 II
π Gorgonea Secunda 4.68 m 326 A2 Vn
k 4.77 m 205 K0 II-III
V469 4.80 m 464 B4 IV
HR 991 4.85 m 1476 K2 III
12 4.91 m 81 F9 V
54 4.93 m 226 G8 III
24 4.94 m 350 K2 III
32 4.96 m 155 A3 V
40 4.97 m 924 B0.5 V
HR 1034 4.99 m 570 B5 V
4th 4.99 m 740 B8 III
HR 969 5.04 m 834 G5 II
31 5.05 m 481 B5 V
LT 5.10 m 387 B9p
V467 5.14 m 298 A3 V
29 5.16 m 528 B3 V
V474 5.16 m 2052 A2 Ia
43 5.28 m 133 F5 IV
59 5.30 m 271 A1 Vn
36 5.30 m 119 F4 III
HR 1011 5.32 m 625 B5 V
20th 5.34 m 235 F4 V
HR 1207 5.39 m 845 B6 V
14th 5.43 m 693 G0 Ib
HR 1330 5.46 m 259 A7 V
HR 885 5.47 m 558 G4p
V396 5.47 m 586 B8 IIIp Mn
30th 5.49 m 645 B8 V
HR 1215 5.49 m 971 B1.5 V

Double stars

system Sizes distance
ε 2.9 / 7.4 m 8.8 "
ζ 2.9 / 9.4 m 12.9 "
η 3.9 / 8.5 m 28 "
57 6.1 / 6.8 m 122 "

ε Persei is a binary star 538 light years away . Both components can be observed with a small telescope with an opening of 6 cm or more.

The binary star system ζ Persei , which is around 1000 light years away, is also easy to observe . The system belongs to an OB association called Perseus OB2 or II Perseus .

Variable stars

star size period Type
β 2.12 to 3.39 m 2,867 days Coverage variable
ρ 3.3 to 4.0 m about 40 days semi-regularly changeable

Algol (β Persei), the second brightest star in Perseus, changes its brightness regularly over a period of 2 days and 21 hours. The decrease in brightness is caused by a weaker companion star that passes in front of the bright main star. Algol is the namesake of a type of eclipsing star .
Algol represents the eye of the mythological Medusa.

ρ Persei is a red giant 325 light years away . Its brightness changes over a period of around 33 to 40 days.
The Latin name Gorgonea Tertia means "third of the Gorgons".

Messier and NGC objects

Messier (M) NGC other size Type Surname
34 1039 6 m Open star cluster
76 650 9.0 m Planetary nebula Small dumbbell nebula
744 7.9 m Open star cluster
869 4.5 m Open star cluster h Persei
884 4.5 m Open star cluster Chi Persei
1342 6.7 m Open star cluster
Tr 2 5.9 m Open star cluster
Mel 20 1.2 m Open star cluster
957 7.6 m Open star cluster
1333 5.6 m Reflection fog
1444 6.6 m Open star cluster
1499 5.0 m Gas mist California fog
1528 6.4 m Open star cluster
1545 6.2 m Open star cluster
1582 7.0 m Open star cluster

M 34 is an open star cluster about 1,400 light years away. It offers the most beautiful sight in binoculars or in the telescope at low magnification, whereby around 100 stars become visible.

The two neighboring star clusters h and Chi Persei can be seen as foggy spots with the naked eye. They are about 7,500 light years away. Here, too, the most beautiful sight is offered in binoculars or in the telescope at low magnification, since both objects are then visible at the same time.

M 76 , a planetary nebula , is the remnant of a star about 5,000 light years away. However, it is not so easy to observe because it is quite faint.

The open star cluster Melotte 20 (α Persei group) is the conspicuous cluster of stars around the main star Mirfak, which are already visible to the naked eye. Similar to the Hyades , this group forms a movement cluster (see also Sternstrom ) and is also part of an OB association .

NGC 1499 is an emission nebula with a shape reminiscent of the US state California . It is therefore also known as the “California Nebula”. Due to its low surface brightness, the fog is only visible in long-exposure photographs .

Meteor streams

The constellation Perseus can be found in the night sky as follows: From the five times lengthened rear axle of the Big Dipper over the Pole Star to the sky W ( Cassiopeia ) and then at a right angle to the right, about halfway to Capella im Wuhrmann

In Perseus is the radiant of the Perseids meteor shower , which reaches its maximum around August 12th each year.

In addition, the weak meteor shower of the September Perseids still exists .

See also

Web links

Commons : Constellation Perseus  - Collection of images, videos and audio files