Intro and Visual description
South of Pegasus and Andromeda, near Aquarius. Pisces represents two fish tied together by two cords:
- The western fish, a pentagon of stars just south of Pegasus, is an asterism known as the circlet.
- The other fish lies on the opposite side of Pegasus, just under Andromeda.
The brightest star, alpha-Piscium, is known as El-Rischa or the "knot" because it ties the two cords together with the two fish on the opposite ends. Alpha-Piscium lies nestled up next to Mira, a bright variable star of the constellation Cetus the Whale.
The reddish star TX Piscium varies in brightness.
Origin and History
Pisces is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.
Skylore, Literature and Culture
According to Roman legend, Venus and her son Cupid escaped from Typhon, a fire-monster, by swimming through the sea. To stay together in the dark depths, they tied themselves together by a rope.
According to medieval tradition, Pisces was associated by ancient Babylonian or Persian magi with the nation of Israel, which led Kepler to consider it as a likely location of the star of Bethlehem. (Hellenistic and Roman astrologers associated Aries, not Pisces, with Israel.)