One of the really spectacular sights of the fall night sky is now visible in the early evening eastern sky. The constellations of Pegesus and Andromeda are rising above the northeastern horizon immediately after dark. They'll be visible all through the Fall and into Winter, so enjoy.
The body of Pegasus is also one of the more easily recognized asterisms, and is known as the Great Square. You can see why in the picture. After locating the Great Square, look to the southernmost star of the square and you are at the beginning of Pegasus's neck. Just picture a horse's neck and head, and you will see stars on the curve of the neck, the top of the head, and the nose. The northernmost star of the square is shared with the Constellation of Andromeda. I can't help but think that Andromeda looks more like the hind legs of the horse, but I've always had horses on the brain.
Pegasus was the winged horse ridden by Perseus to rescue the Princess Andromeda from the sea monster after her mother, Cassiopea, mouthed off about being the most beautiful woman in the world. It just goes to show that one should never brag in front of a god or goddess. They just might be paying attention and take offense. Why the Greek gods picked on poor Andromeda, I've never been able to figure out; but, even the ancient Greeks never claimed that their gods were fair.
If you happen to have a good set of binoculars, now is the time to get them out. Look in the pictures above. Follow the stars of Andromeda (the hind legs of Pegasus) and half way to the heels (girl or horse), look just a little upwards toward the zenith. There you will see a blurry spot. That is the Andromeda Galaxy. It is the fartherest object that we can see with the naked human eye. It's two million light years away, and it's coming to get us. *EG* No, it really is coming this way... in several billing years, so you don't have to worry tonight. It's breathtakingly beautiful, and about twice the size of your Milky Way. Just go out and enjoy the view.
Pegasus and Andromeda are two of five constellations related by the same Greek myth. I will be writing in other posts about them, so come back for another visit. You're always welcome.
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