International Star Registry

All Constellations

Perseus - Hero

Perseus holds a sword in his right hand, the head of Medusa in his left, and has wings at his feet. The head of Medusa is not a separate constellation, as is sometimes thought, but merely forms part of Perseus. It is represented as a trunkless head of a frightful Gorgon, covered with coiling snakes instead of hair, held aloft by Perseus.

Perseus, his wife Andromeda and his in-laws, King Cepheus and Cassiopeia, have homogenous locations in the northern sky in the autumn.

Mirfak, “the elbow”, is a brilliant lilac color of a 2 magnitude. A meteor shower called Perseids exhibits 60 meteors each hour and can be seen near Mirfak on August 10th to August 14th. Algol, “the demon”, is a 2.3 magnitude white binary located in the eye of the Medusa.

Perseus was the son of Jupiter and Danae. No sooner was he born than he was thrown into the Aegean Sea with his mother by his grandfather Acrisius. They were swept to the coasts of one of the islands of the Cyclades called Seriphos and rescued by a fisherman. Following their rescue, they were carried to Polydectes, the king of Seriphos, who treated them with great humanity and entrusted them to the care of the priests of Minerva’s Temple. Perseus’ genius and manly courage soon made him a favorite of the gods.

At a great feast of Polydectes, all the nobles were expected to present the king with a superb and beautiful horse. Because Perseus felt he owed much to his benefactor, he wanted to outdo the competition. He undertook to bring his king the head of Medusa, the only one of the three Gorgons who was subject to mortality. The immortal Gorgons were Stheno and Euriale; all were snake-haired serpents with yellow wings and brazen hands. They were covered with impenetrable scales. Not a pretty sight. They had the power to turn anyone looking at them into stone.

To equip Perseus for this rather dangerous journey, Pluto, god of the Infernal regions, loaned his helmet of invisibility. Minerva, goddess of wisdom, furnished him with her mirror-like buckler (a small, round shield). Mercury gave him wings for his feet and a dagger made of diamonds.

Being suitably equipped for a hydra raid, Perseus flew through the air with Minerva’s help to reach the monster. By great good fortune, Medusa was sacked out as Perseus approached. With a cunning that delighted and amazed Minerva, he maneuvered himself into position by the reflection of his shield and cut off Medusa’s head with one blow. The noise awoke Medusa’s companions, but because Pluto’s helmet made Perseus invisible, the remaining vengeful Gorgons couldn’t track him down.

Perseus then made his way through the air with Medusa’s head dripping in his hand. From the blood it secreted sprang all those innumerable serpents that have ever since infested the sandy deserts of Lybia. On his way to Seriphos he rescued Andromeda, who was chained to a rock, from the sea monster Cetus and married her. Their first born son, Peres, gets credit as the first Persian.

The destruction of Medusa naturally gave Perseus lasting fame. When he died, he was immortalized as a constellation, with the head of Medusa in his hand.
Right Ascension 03:27
Diameter (°)17
Area (square °)615
Opposition Nov 16
Size Rank 24th
Brightness Rank 18th