Northern Milky Way Optical image of the Milky Way passing through the northern constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus, and Cepheus.  North is at the top.  The Milky Way is a band of light crossing the sky made up of millions of stars in our galactic plane.  Cassiopeia, the queen, forms W of bright stars right of center.  Cepheus, the king, is at upper right.  On the lower right is the constellation Andromeda, the princess.  At the bottom left is Perseus.  These constellations represent a story from ancient Greek mythology in which Perseus rescued Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, from a monster.

Eckhard Slavok/Science Photo Library

This week we’ll explore the two main constellations that dominate the skies around the world during February. They were both named after figures from Greek mythology: Perseus the hero and Auriga the charioteer. They will be visible for most of the evening in the Northern Hemisphere, but only for an hour or two after sunset in the Southern Hemisphere, where you should be looking north.

Perseus (pictured above) is one of the largest constellations in the night sky. His name is said to have saved Andromeda from being sacrificed by the sea monster Setus,…