This remarkable autumn constellation can be seen from the UK for an appreciable part of the year from autumn to spring, as part of the group is circumpolar. The constellation is representative of the eternal story of triumph over adversity that features in many Greek plays of the classical period. Perseus was the son of Zeus by the princess Danae and was fated to go through many adventures, including the killing of Medusa the Gorgon and Cetus the sea monster, to finally get the girl at the end of the story. All the characters in the Perseus legend are with him in the sky as constellations in their own right; Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Cetus and the winged horse Pegasus. To the Welsh, Perseus represents their hero Llew Llaw Gyffes who was the child of Arianrhod (herself represented by the constellation Coronae Borealis). Llew was murdered by his treacherous wife and her lover but at the moment of his death, his soul turned into an Eagle - Gwalchmai or the “hawk of May”. His uncle Gwydion searched for him and found him as the constellation Aquila after traversing Sarn Gwydion, the Milky Way and eventually restored him to life again. This story not only ties with religious beliefs regarding the birth, death and re-birth of the sun from Celtic legends but is Christianized as the blameless life, death and rebirth of Jesus Christ.

Notable Objects

Messier 34 a star cluster, the “Sword Handle” a pair of jewel like clusters. Messier 76 a planetary nebula