List of stars in Pisces
|Pronunciation||//, genitive //|
|Right ascension||1 h|
|Area||889 sq. deg. (14th)|
|Stars with planets||13|
|Stars brighter than 3.00m||0|
|Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly)||8|
|Brightest star||η Psc (3.62m)|
|Nearest star||Van Maanen's Star
(14.07 ly, 4.31 pc)
Pisces // is a constellation of the zodiac. Its name is the Latin plural for fish, and its symbol is (Unicode ♓). It lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east. The ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect within this constellation and in Virgo.
M74 is a loosely-wound (type Sc) spiral galaxy in Pisces, found at a distance of 30 million light years (redshift 0.0022). It has many clusters of young stars and the associated nebulae, showing extensive regions of star formation. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain, a French astronomer, in 1780. A type II-P supernova was discovered in the outer regions of M74 by Robert Evans in June 2003; the star that underwent the supernova was later identified as a red supergiant with a mass of 8 solar masses.
CL 0024+1654 is a massive galaxy cluster that lenses the galaxy behind it, creating arc-shaped images of the background galaxy. The cluster is primarily made up of yellow elliptical and spiral galaxies, at a distance of 3.6 billion light-years from Earth (redshift 0.4), half as far away as the background galaxy, which is at a distance of 5.7 billion light-years (redshift 1.67).
3C 31 is an active galaxy and radio source in Perseus located at a distance of 237 million light-years from Earth (redshift 0.0173). Its jets, caused by the supermassive black hole at its center, extend several million light-years in both directions, making them some of the largest objects in the universe.
Pisces originates from some composition of the Babylonian constellations Zibatti-meš (maybe Šinunutu4 "the great swallow" in current eastern Pisces) and KU6 ("the fish, Ea", Piscis Austrinus). In the first Millennium BCE texts known as the Astronomical Diaries, part of the constellation was also called DU.NU.NU (Rikis-nu.mi, "the fish cord or ribbon").
Pisces is associated with the Roman legend of Venus and Cupid, who escaped the monster Typhon by transforming into fish and tying themselves together with rope. The knot of the rope is marked by alpha Piscium, also called Al-Rischa ("the cord" in Arabic).
- Piscis Boreus (the North Fish): σ – 68 – 65 – 67 – ψ1 – ψ2 – ψ3 – χ – φ – υ – 91 – τ – 82 – 78 Psc.
- Linum Boreum (the North Cord): χ – ρ,94 – VX(97) – η – π – ο – α Psc.
- Linum Austrinum (the South Cord): α – ξ – ν – μ – ζ – ε – δ – 41 – 35 – ω Psc.
- Piscis Austrinus (the South Fish): ω – ι – θ – 7 – β – 5 – κ,9 – λ – TX(19) Psc.
In 1754, the astronomer John Hill proposed to treat part of Pisces as a separate constellation, called Testudo (the Turtle) 24 – 27 – YY(30) – 33 – 29 Psc., centred a natural but faint asterism in which the star 20 Psc is intended to be the head of the turtle. However the proposal was largely neglected by other astronomers with the exception of Admiral Smyth, who mentioned it in his book The Bedford Catalogue, and it is now obsolete.
The Fishes are also associated with the German legend of Antenteh, who owned just a tub and a crude cabin when he met a magical fish. They offered him a wish, which he refused. However, his wife begged him to return to the fish and ask for a beautiful furnished home. This wish was granted, but her desires were not satisfied. She then asked to be a queen and have a palace, but when she asked to become a goddess, the fish became angry and took the palace and home, leaving the couple with the tub and cabin once again. The tub in the story is sometimes recognized as the Great Square of Pegasus.
In non-Western astronomy
The stars of Pisces were incorporated into several constellations in Chinese astronomy. Wai-ping ("Outer Enclosure") was a fence that kept a pig farmer from falling into the marshes and kept the pigs where they belonged. It was represented by Alpha, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Mu, Nu, and Xi Piscium. The marshes were represented by the four stars designated Phi Ceti. The northern fish of Pisces was a part of the House of the Sandal, Koui-siou.
While the astrological sign Pisces per definition runs from ecliptical longitude 330° to 0, this position is now mostly covered by the constellation of Aquarius, due to the precession from when the constellation and the sign coincided.
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