The constellation of Pisces: legend, number of stars, famous people of the sign of Pisces

In the 2nd century, Claudius Ptolemy, who studied the night sky, noticed a cluster of stars in its eastern-western part. According to the coordinate system adopted today, this is the first northern square NQ1. The ancient astronomer named the constellation “Pisces,” which means “Fish,” and recorded it in the zodiacal group.

This fairly large celestial object can be observed in latitudes from +90 to -65 degrees, depending on the time of year and the observer’s location.

The constellation is traditionally divided into two asterisms: the Northern Fish and the Western Fish. The former is located near Andromeda, while the latter is between Pegasus and Aquarius.

Legends about the origin of the constellation:

Pisces is a very ancient stellar cluster. Its images are found in Egyptian pyramid tombs and on clay tablets of Ancient Babylon. Primitive people, lacking the knowledge of modern humans, believed that in the part of the sky where the constellations of Pisces, Capricorn, and Aquarius are located, there is the Starry Sea. When the Sun passes through this section of the sky, rains fall on Earth.

And indeed, there was a grain of truth in this statement: the rainy season in the Mediterranean corresponded to the time when the luminary was in these signs of the Zodiac.

Legend of the monster Typhon and the gratitude of the Gods:

monster TyphonOne of the ancient Greek legends tells how Mother Earth Gaia, fighting for power with the Olympian gods, sent one of her monstrous creations to them – Typhon. It was a dragon with a hundred heads, spewing flames from its eyes, the most terrible of creatures ever.

At that time, the serene goddess of love Aphrodite was walking with her son Eros on the banks of a picturesque river. When Typhon emerged from the ground, they were frightened and fled. They were saved by water, and to save themselves, the divine beings turned into fish and hid at the bottom. River nymphs helped them by tying Aphrodite and Eros together with a long rope so that the current would not carry them away in different directions. Typhon, however, was left with nothing.

In gratitude for their salvation, the gods placed the images of Fish in the night sky.

Legend of the divine fish tail:

Goddess of Fertility AstarteThe Phoenician version of the origin of the constellation of fish sounds somewhat different: when the river was filled to the brim with fish, a beautiful woman with lush forms and a little boy came to its shore. It was the Goddess of Fertility Astarte and her son.

Admiring her beauty, she bent down to the water. At that moment, a monster appeared on the shore. To save herself from it, Astarte quickly tied her son to herself and threw him into the river, turning him into a small spotted fish. She wanted to do the same with herself, but she was a little too hasty. Her body did not have time to sink completely into the water. And the beautiful goddess was left with only a fish tail.

To avoid suffocating underwater, she transported herself and her son to the starry sky, and their images were imprinted there forever. As for Astarte herself, as a reminder of that meeting with the monster, instead of beautiful legs, only a tail remained.

How many stars are there in the constellation Pisces?

The Pisces constellation is quite challenging to discern with the naked eye. Dreamers and romantics who gaze at the night sky can only enjoy its contemplation on rare moonless and cloudless nights. This is because Pisces does not contain particularly bright stars.

Pisces zodiacal constellation
Pisces zodiacal constellation (VectorStock)

In total, astronomers count over 160 celestial bodies in the constellation, but only a few of them possess any significant stellar magnitude:

  • Al Pherg or Alpherg, also known as Kullat Nunu, is a giant star whose luminosity is 300 times brighter than the Sun. However, it is located at a distance of nearly 295 light-years, making it barely visible to us.
  • Alpha Piscium (translated from Arabic as “the rope”), the beginning of Pisces, is a binary star consisting of white dwarfs.
  • Gamma Piscium is the second brightest astronomical object in the constellation, a yellow giant visible in the night sky almost constantly.
  • TX Piscium is a carbon-rich red star.
  • Beta Piscium, the star farthest from our planet, is assigned the significance of the mouth of the fish by astronomers.
  • Iota Piscium is a yellow dwarf that was considered the closest star to us in this cluster for a long time, located at a distance of 45 light-years.
  • Not long ago, scientists discovered Van Maanen’s Star in Pisces, which is only 14 light-years away. It is a white dwarf located in the direction of the Western Fish. However, its luminosity is practically imperceptible from Earth.

Other celestial objects in the constellation include:

  1. Individual spiral galaxies like Messier 74, NGC 524, NGC 528, and NGC 660.
  2. A group of galaxies located near Andromeda, including NGC 375, 379, 380, 383-386, and 388 (their existence is known to science, but these objects have yet to be observed from Earth).
  3. The double star system Zeta Piscium.
  4. The vernal equinox point is located in Pisces (the Sun is in this zodiacal constellation from March 12 to April 18).

Interesting facts about the Pisces constellation:

  • It ranks 14th in size among other known modern science constellations in the night sky.
  • Out of the 160 stars in Pisces, only 75 are visible through a telescope. More powerful optics are needed to study the others.
  • Every year on September 19, a meteor shower occurs in the Pisces constellation.
  • Particles from Asteroid 2003 QC10 travel at a speed of 30 km/s. Their movement is beautiful to observe from Earth.
  • In the spiral galaxy Messier 74 described above, the process of star formation is still ongoing. According to scientists, two new dwarf stars have appeared in the last 10 years. Moreover, there is a black hole in this galaxy.

Celebrities born under the sign of Pisces:

Astrologers claim that people born under this water sign are very dreamy and easily inspired. They are highly sensitive to the moods and emotions of others but can also be quite capricious.Rihanna

Among the representatives of this contradictory sign, there are many well-known personalities:

  • Actor and filmmaker Bruce Willis (born March 19, 1955)
  • Actor Billy Crystal (born March 14, 1948)
  • Actor and comedian John Belushi (born January 24, 1949).
  • Singer and songwriter Rihanna (born February 20, 1988).
  • Actor Daniel Craig, known for portraying James Bond (born March 2, 1968).
  • Actress Dakota Fanning (born February 23, 1994).
  • Singer Kurt Cobain, frontman of Nirvana (born February 20, 1967).
  • Actress Jessica Biel (born March 3, 1982).
  • Actor Adam Levine, lead vocalist of Maroon 5 (born March 18, 1979).

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