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Perseus Constellation

Perseus Constellation

C029/5368

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Credit

LARRY LANDOLFI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LARRY LANDOLFI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Representing the ancient Greek hero of the same name, this is a large constellation of the Northern hemisphere. It contains the famous variable star Algol (Beta Persei, in the center of its body ). This star varies between magnitude 2.1 and 3.4 with a cycle of just over two days. This is because it is an eclipsing binary, a system of two stars in a mutual orbit which eclipse each other as seen from Earth, blocking the eclipsed star's light for a short time. The Milky Way passes through Perseus, so it contains nebulae (red) and star clusters.

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