Pisces and Cetus - Downloadable article
A shipload of galaxies rides high above the watery constellations Pisces the Fish and Cetus the Whale.
March 3, 2009
|This downloadable article is from an Astronomy magazine 45-article series called "Celestial Portraits." The collection highlights all 88 constellations in the sky and explains how to observe each constellation's deep-sky targets. The articles feature star charts, stunning pictures, and constellation mythology. We've put together 11 digital packages. Each one contains four Celestial Portraits articles for you to purchase and download.|
"Pisces and Cetus" is one of four articles included in Celestial Portraits Package 3.
Just before winter's onslaught of storms, autumn typically brings the clearest skies. On the meridian we find a star-poor region of the sky that is often bypassed for the starry Milky Way fields to the north. But Pisces and Cetus do hold some telescopic treasures that include a resolvable galaxy, a nearby planetary nebula, and one of the sky's most studied objects.
Despite the faintness of its stars, the figure of Pisces the Fish is easily traced. Look for a large V-shape of 4th- and 5th-magnitude stars, 30° on a side. At the west end is the Circlet, a group of five stars that more resembles a pentagon. Pisces is drawn as two fish joined at their tails, with the knot at Alpha (α) Piscium. Cetus the Whale is another autumn constellation associated with water. Finding a whale among these 4th-magnitude stars is difficult, but there are recognizable patterns to guide your way through the constellation. Perhaps the easiest to spot is what could be dubbed a "False Circlet," a scaled-up version of the true one in Pisces, 50° to the west. To the southwest lie four stars that form a large version of the handle of the Teapot in Sagittarius. The constellation's brightest star is 2nd-magnitude Diphda (Beta [β] Ceti), which appears yellowish to the naked eye. To read the complete article, purchase and download Celestial Portraits Package 3.
|Deep-sky objects in Pisces and Cetus|
NGC 157, NGC 246, NGC 247, 65 Piscium, IC 1613, NGC 428, NGC 474, NGC 488, NGC 520, M74 (NGC 628), NGC 676, Mira, NGC 908, NGC 1052, NGC 1055, M77 (NGC 1068), NGC 1073