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.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library