Tag Archives: Pisces

Aries (The ram)

Constellation AriesAries is the zodiacal constellation named after the ram.  In ancient times, this constellation represented the golden fleece that was stolen by Jason and the Argonauts. It is one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. It is located on the ecliptic between Pisces and Taurus, and just south of Triangulum. It is highest in the sky at darkness and can be best seen in December.  Its brightest star is Hamal (Alpha Arietis), and most of this constellation’s stars can be picked out in most light polluted urban skies, but the constellation bears little resemblance to a ram.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aries_(constellation)

IAU Aries chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.
IAU Aries chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Triangulum (The triangle)

Triangulum, AndromedaThis small northern constellation presents as well-formed triangle of three stars. It was one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. It is not bright enough to jump out at the observer, but can be seen in all but the most light-polluted skies. Look for it high overhead between Perseus, Andromeda, and Pisces in December. M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, is the brightest and most notable deep sky object in this constellation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulum

610px-Triangulum_IAU.svg
IAU Triangulum chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Phoenix (The mythical Phoenix)

Constellation PhoenixMythical Phoenix is very low and dim southern constellation that is challenging to locate from northern latitudes. Find it by drawing a line southward from Pisces through Cetus and Sculptor. Because it is located so far south, it is only visible at its highest nightfall ascension in December, and perhaps its brightest star, Ankaa (Alpha Phoenicis) will be the only star visible through the haze on the horizon. Two recently-discovered galaxy clusters, Phoenix and El Gordo, are among the largest objects in the visible universe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(constellation)

IAU Phoenix chart, IAU and Sky Telescope magazine, Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg, June 5, 2011.
IAU Phoenix chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Cetus (A sea monster in Greek mythology)

CetusCetus, the Greek mythological sea monster, is a large southern constellation on the celestial equator, and one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. It is accompanied by other water constellations – Pisces, Aquarius and Eridanus. Its head is nestled among three zodiacal constellations: Taurus, Aries and Pisces. Its body is south (below) Pisces, and is flanked by Aquarius and Eridanus. Cetus’ close proximity to the ecliptic means that the Moon, planets and asteroids occasionally pass through this constellation. Cetus is placed highest in the sky at nightfall in December.

Cetus is home to one Messier object, M77, a striking face-on spiral galaxy. Among Cetus’ stars is an unusual variable star, the disappearing  one, or Mira (Omicron Ceti). This star’s high variability from 3rd magnitude to 10th magnitude means that it disappears from view when it dips below 5th or 6th magnitude. Cetus’ brightest star Menkar (Alpha Ceti) marks the sea monster’s nose.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetus

IAU Cetus chart, Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Cetus chart, Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Pisces (The fishes)

Constellation PiscesThis zodiacal constellation is a rather dim grouping of stars that are strung out low across the southern sky, just below the Great Square of Pegasus. Pisces is one of the 48 constellations cataloged by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. It is highest in the sky and best observed at nightfall in December. The intersection of the ecliptic and the celestial equator lie within this constellation. There are two such intersections that mark the two equinoxes. At the intersection in Pisces, the Sun is moving from south to north, so this is the point of the Vernal (spring) Equinox. This constellation is home to just one Messier object, M74.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pisces_(constellation)

IAU Pisces chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Aquarius (The water bearer)

Constellation AquariusAquarius, the water bearer, is a rather dim and nondescript zodiacal constellation. This southern constellation was cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. It is located in a region known to  the ancients as “the sea” because several water constellations, to include Capricornus (the sea goat), Piscis Austrinis (the fish), Pisces (the fishes), and Cetus (the sea monster) are gathered there. It is situated on the ecliptic between Capricornus and Pisces, and is just south of the Great Square of Pegasus. Aquarius reaches its highest nightfall ascension in November. Three globular star clusters, M2, M72 and M73 are the only Messier objects found in this constellation. The Eta Aquariids is the strongest meteor shower radiating from Aquarius, peaking at about 35 meteors per hour between May 5th and 6th.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquarius_(constellation)

IAU Aquarius chart, Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), January 27, 1997.
IAU Aquarius chart, Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), January 27, 1997.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net