The constellation Perseus, 1603.
3 2 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 24cm

The constellation Perseus, 1603.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Illustration taken from 'Uranometria' (1603) by Johann Bayer, showing the star constellation of Perseus, the slayer of the gorgon Medusa in Greek myth. German astronomer and lawyer Johann Bayer (1572-1625) invented the system for naming stars using letters from the Greek alphabet, a system still used today for the brighter stars - those visible to the human eye without the aid of a telescope. 'Uranometria' depicts the positions of nearly 1000 stars in addition to those identified by Tycho Brahe. One of the largest constellations visible from the northern hemisphere, Perseus contains a number of objects of interest to astronomers, including a number of star clusters. The spectacular Perseids meteor shower can be seen in this area of the sky in July and August.

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