All About The Pegasus Constellation
If you were obsessed with Barbie movies as a child, I'm sure there was a phase where you were obsessed with Pegasus. But did you know that these magical creatures exist? Because they indeed do, in the night sky just waiting for us to notice it.
Like many constellations with connection to Greek mythology, the Pegasus constellation is named after a white-winged horse that has great importance in greek mythology. The constellation is part of the forty-eight constellations listed. It was done by Ptolemy, a famous astronomer and mathematician, in his Almagest in the second-century common era (CE). Even to this day, it is listed as part of eighty-eight constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union, also known as IAU.
The Pegasus constellation is one of the largest constellations in the sky, with a lot of myths attached to it. So continue reading to get to know about all the facts and myths of this constellation.
Pegasus Constellation Location
This constellation is the seventh-largest out of eighty-eight constellations that are listed and lie in the northern hemisphere, starting near the end of summer and continuing all the way through autumn. If you live below the equator, look for the Pegasus constellation through late winters and spring.
Many constellations borders pegasus: like Andromeda border pegasus to the north as well as east, Lacerta to the north, Equuleus, Delphinus coupled with Vulpecula to the west, Cygnus to the northwest, Aquarius, one of the 12 zodiac signs, to the south and Pisces, another zodiac sign, to the south and east.
Adding to this, Pegasus also belongs to a family of constellations called Perseus, which also includes others like Andromeda, Cepheus, Cetus, Auriga, Perseus, Cassiopeia, Triangulum and, Lacerta.
By Till Credner - Own work: AlltheSky.com
Major Stars That Are Part of Pegasus Constellation
The Great Square of Pegasus Constellation
This part of the constellation represents the main body of the Pegasus. It is a major asterism, which is a group of stars smaller than a constellation, made up of four bright stars, all of almost the same brightness. Three of these stars, namely Markab, Scheat, and Algenib, are in Pegasus, whereas Alpha Andromedae is a dual designation star. It represents the navel button of the horse as well as the top part of Andromeda’s head.
Markab, also known as Alpha Pegasi, has a visual magnitude of 2.48 and is also 133 light-years away from us approximately. There are two other stars brighter than this in the constellation. Its name is derived from Arabic, meaning "the saddle of the horse."
This is a traditional name that originates from Arabic Al Sā’id, meaning "the upper arm." It is also known as Beta Pegasi and has a magnitude of 2.42. It is 196 light-years away from us and is 1500 times brighter than the sun.
Algenib, also known as Gamma Pegasi, is a subgiant star. It is located at the bottom of the left hand, in the corner of the great square of the constellation. Furthermore, It also has a visual magnitude of 2.84, and it's 5840 times brighter than the sun. Its distance from us is 390 light-years
Enif marks the muzzle of the Pegasus and originates from Arabic, a word for "nose." Enif has another name, Epsilon Pegasi. It is also the brightest star in the constellation, with a visual magnitude of 22.399. Another notable feature of this star is that it is also an orange subgiant which is 5000 times more luminous compared to the sun and approximately 690 light-years away.
Deep Sky Objects in the Constellation
Apart from its notable collection of stars, the pegasus constellation features many galaxies and other deep sky objects.
Messier Object- M15
Messier 15 is one of the oldest clusters known as it is about 12 billion years old. This cluster, a globular cluster, to be more specific, has an apparent magnitude of 6.2 and is about 33,600 light-years distant. This messier is also one of the densest globular clusters known, with most of its mass being concentrated on the core.
This is a galaxy that was discovered by William Herschel, who was a British astronomer but born in Germany. It is a galaxy that is similar in shape and size to the milky way but is about 40 million light-years distant! Which to put it into simpler words, if it were to travel to us, it would take 40 million years. YES, you read it correctly; it's 40 million YEARS!
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Myths Related To the Pegasus Constellation in Greek Mythology
This constellation has a very extensive myth about it as part of Greek Mythology. The Pegasus was a winged horse that sparing out of Medusa's neck, a beautiful woman whose hair was turned into snakes and face so hideous that anyone who looked at it would turn into stone, by Athena because she got Poseidon defiling her. The Pegasus sprang out when Perseus beheaded her and was an offspring of Poseidon along with the warrior Chrysaor.
The Pegasus later became the horse of Bellerophon, who was sent to kill the chimera monster. Bellerophon tamed him using the golden bridle. Both of them succeeded in killing the fire-breathing monster and then traveled to Olympus. However, Bellerophon fell back to earth, and Pegasus was the only one who reached the destination. There he was, Zeus' companion. Zeus wanted to award his bravery, and so he decided to place him in the night sky.
Pegasus is an animal that we all have wished to exist, but we forget that just because something doesn't exist right in front of us, it doesn't mean that it does not exist at all. All along, it has waited in the night sky to be noticed by us.