Perseus Constellation Facts
Perseus is easily visible in the night sky due to the brightness of its stars.
- Perseus is visible from August to March in the Northern hemisphere.
- It is visible in northerly areas of the Southern hemisphere from mid spring to early summer.
- Perseus is relatively bright and can be at least partially viewed even in well lit areas.
- The annual Perseids meteor shower emanates from the direction of the constellation.
- The Perseids occur from mid July to mid August, at times one meteor can be seen every minute.
- The shower happens as a result of Earth passing through a trail of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle.
- The Little Dumbbell and California nebulae are located within the Perseus constellation.
- Perseus is near several constellations whose names derive from the adventures of the Greek hero, known as the Perseus Group.
- Other constellations in the Perseus Group include Andromeda, Cassiopeia and Pegasus.
- Perseus has been recognized as a constellation for at least 2,000 years.
The Greek mythological hero Perseus holding the head of the gorgon Medusa.
Main Stars in the Perseus Constellation
The number next to each star is its apparent magnitude, its brightness from our point of view on Earth, the lower the number the brighter the star in the night sky.
With no traditional name the star is simply known as Gamma Persei, it's actually a binary system located around 240 light years from Earth, the primary star eclipses the other every 15 years causing it to appear dimmer in the night sky for a couple of weeks. Mirfak
Also known as Alpha Persei, Mirfak is located around 500 light years from Earth and is the brightest star in the constellation, it's a white supergiant with a diameter around 30 times larger than the sun. Algol
Also known as Beta Persei, Algol is actually a three star system located around 90 light years from Earth, the primary star is eclipsed by one of its less bright companions every 3 days causing its brightness to dip considerably for several hours. In the late 18th century the star was the first such eclipsing binary to be discovered. Historically Algol has been referred to as the "Demon Star", this may be due to the ancients perceiving its dimming in brightness as a harbinger of bad luck. Gorgonea Tertia
Also known as Rho Persei, Gorgonea Tertia is a red giant around 300 light years from Earth, it is 150 times larger in diameter than the sun. Epsilon
Epsilon Persei is a binary or possible triple star system 640 light years from Earth, the primary star has surface temperatures 5 times hotter than the sun with a mass around 14 times greater. Zeta
Zeta Persei is a blue supergiant around 750 light years from Earth, it is more than 25 times larger in diameter than the sun and almost 50,000 times as luminous.
Note: Although it may look like east and west are the wrong way wrong round on star charts they are actuallly designed to be used as if they are being held above the head.
Finding Perseus - Northern Hemisphere
Finding Perseus - Southern Hemisphere