Fishing Within The Pisces Constellation
Will Leave Your Hook Empty

The Pisces constellation is represented as two fish swimming away from each other in a skewed “V” shape, but connected to each other at the tail by a cord.

According to legend, during the attack on the Gods by Typhon, during which the god Pan changed to become the sea-goat represented by the Capricorn constellation, Aphrodite(Venus) and Eros(Cupid) her son, changed themselves into fish and escaped.

To keep from losing each other in the Nile river they tied a cord about their tails. So even though swimming in divergent directions, they were able to reunite after reaching safety.

Pisces is the constellation that now contains the vernal equinox. This is the point in which the sun crosses the celestial equator into the northern hemisphere. This point was formerly in the Aries constellation.

Unfortunately for the backyard stargazer, Pisces is a very dim constellation.

Its brightest star being of only 4th magnitude. In astronomy lower magnitudes are brighter- so a 1st magnitude star is brighter than a 2nd magnitude star.

In addition to being dim, there is only one Messier object in Pisces-spiral galaxy M74.

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The Pisces constellation can be found rising in the evening sky in fall.

Located between the Aquarius constellation and the Aries constellation, Pisces is the 12th of the zodiac constellations.

Surrounded by: Triangulum Andromeda Pegasus Cetus

Right Ascension: 1 hour

Declination: 15 degrees

Visible between latitudes +90 and -65 degrees

Best seen in November at 9:00 PM local time

Named Stars: Alrescha(Alpha Piscium) Fum al Samakah(Beta Piscium)

Torcularis Septentrionalis(Omicron Piscium)

This slightly V-shaped constellation has few bright stars. One area of note is called the Circlet of Pisces. This marks the western fish and can be found south of the Great Square of Pegasus.

The brightest star here is the 3.7-magnitude Gamma Piscium. Moving counterclockwise around the circlet we next find Theta Piscium at magnitude 4.26. Then comes Iota Piscium at magnitude 4.13. Lastly is Lambda Piscium at magnitude 4.49.

Marking the bottom of the V-shape where the rope holds the fish together is an apparent magnitude 3.82 double star named Alrescha(Alrisha). Fourteen degrees northwest is magnitude 3.62 Eta Piscium. The constellations brightest star.

While there are many faint galaxies in Pisces, there is only one that makes a good observing target for the backyard stargazer. That galaxy is M74, just a little more than one degree east of Eta Piscium. The magnitude 9.19 galaxy is a challenge for small telescopes.

› Pisces
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