Constellations of the Southern Spring Help

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 16, 2011

Constellations of the Southern Spring—Pisces and Aries

Now imagine that it is around 10:00 in the middle of October and that you are at the latitude of Sydney, Buenos Aires, or Cape Town (approximately 35°S). New constellations have risen in the east, and old ones have set in the west. Here are constellations we have not described before that now occupy prominent positions in the sky.

Pisces And Aries

In the north you will see Pisces , the two fish. In the north-northeastern sky is Aries , the winged ram (Fig. 3-25). The fish of Pisces are, according to mythology, joined at their tails, and Aries has fleece of gold.

The Sky “Down Under” Constellations Of The Southern Spring Cetus

Figure 3-25. Pisces, the fishes, and Aries, the ram.


High in the northeastern sky is Cetus , the whale or sea monster (Fig. 3-26). The variable star Mira is sometimes visible in this constellation. The star Tau Ceti is thought to be a candidate for having a solar system similar to ours and possibly an earthlike planet.

The Sky “Down Under” Constellations Of The Southern Spring Cetus

Figure 3-26. Cetus, the whale, contains the variable star Mira.

Pegasus And Andromeda

Low in the north-northwestern sky is Pegasus , the winged horse. Near the northern horizon, Andromeda , representing a princess, rides the horse alongside the Milky Way (Fig. 3-27). Andromeda contains a spiral galaxy similar to our own galaxy, but it is 2,200,000 light-years away, about 20 times the diameter of the Milky Way’s spiral disk. The Great Nebula in Andromeda , as it was originally called, is too near the horizon, as viewed from the southern temperate latitudes, to present itself well to casual observers.

The Sky “Down Under” Constellations Of The Southern Spring Pegasus And Andromeda

Figure 3-27. Pegasus, the winged horse, and Andromeda, the Ethiopian princess who married Perseus.


High in the northwest sky, you will see Aquarius , the water bearer (Fig. 3-28). Aquarius supposedly brings love and peace. In ancient mythology, this constellation was seen as a person pouring water from a jug.

The Sky “Down Under” Constellations Of The Southern Spring Aquarius

Figure 3-28. Aquarius, the water-bearer, traverses the northwestern sky on spring evenings in the southern hemisphere.

Piscis Austrinus And Grus

High in the western sky, nearly at the zenith, is Piscis Austrinus , also called Piscis Australis . This is the southern fish and contains the bright star Formalhaut (Fig. 3-29). Immediately to the south of it is Grus , the crane.

The Sky “Down Under” Constellations Of The Southern Spring Piscis Austrinus And Grus

Figure 3-29. Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish, and Grus, the crane, are near the zenith on southern-hemisphere spring evenings.

Practice problems of this concept can be found at: The Southern Sky Practice Problems

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