Constellations of Autumn Help
Constellations of Autumn—Pisces and Aries
Pisces And Aries
High in the southeast you will see Pisces , the two fish, and Aries , the winged ram (Fig. 2-22). Legend has it that Pisces were joined or tied together at their tails long ago, and to this day they are flailing about in that unfortunate condition. Aries has fleece of gold, and for this reason, the ram is sought after by a cosmic spirit called Jason and his cohorts called the Argonauts .
Somewhat below and to the right of Pisces is Cetus , the whale, also considered a sea monster in some myths (Fig. 2-23). The variable star Mira is sometimes visible in the belly of the whale. Cetus is supposed to have been sent to swallow Andromeda, but this mission did not succeed. Cetus contains one star, called Tau Ceti , believed to be a good candidate for having a solar system similar to ours.
Pegasus And Andromeda
Nearly at the zenith there is a square consisting of four medium-bright stars. This is the body of Pegasus , the winged horse. Toward the northeast, Andromeda , representing a princess, rides the horse alongside the Milky Way (Fig. 2-24). Andromeda had been chained to a rock and left out for Cetus to devour as the tide came in, but she was rescued by Perseus. Andromeda contains a spiral galaxy similar to our Milky Way but is more than 2 million light-years away. This galaxy can be seen as a dim blob by people with keen eyesight; with a massive telescope at low magnification, it resolves into a spectacular object. When photographed over a period of hours, it takes on the classic appearance of a spiraling disk of stars.
Beneath Pegasus, in the southern sky, you will see Aquarius , the water bearer. This is not an easy constellation to envision as any sort of human figure; it more nearly resembles an exotic, long-necked bottle or a tree branch (Fig. 2-25). Aquarius supposedly brings love and peace as well as water.
Piscis Austrinus And Grus
Low in the southern sky is Piscis Austrinus , also called Piscis Australis . This is the southern fish and contains the bright star Formalhaut (Fig. 2-26). At the middle temperate latitudes in North America, Piscis Austrinus manages to rise only a few degrees above the horizon. Further north, in Europe and in England, it barely emerges at all. Immediately to the south of it is Grus , the crane. This constellation is not visible in the northern temperate extremes, although it can be seen on dark nights in most of the United States.
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