Perseus constellation, 1603

Perseus constellation, 1603

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Perseus constellation. 17th century engraving of the Greek hero Perseus, overlaid with the positions of the stars that make up this constellation. Perseus slew Medusa the Gorgon (head in hand) and flew using winged sandals (shown) to slay Cetus (the sea monster), a nearby constellation. This star map is from Uranometria, a star atlas published in 1603 by the German astronomer Johann Bayer. It contained a total of 51 star maps, plotted using the most accurate observations of the time. It was the first star atlas to use reference grids on its maps, and the first to use Greek letters to identify individual stars, though it retained the traditional mythological depictions of the constellations.

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