• Psc - Pisces the Fishes

    IAU Constellation


    14 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    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.

  • M74

    Object image

    Object image caption

    In late July, 2013, the "Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey for Transient Objects" (PESSTO) recorded a Type II supernova, SN2013ej. It is visible as the brightest star at the bottom left of the image. Two other supernovas appeared in M74 in 2002 and 2003.


  • Bode (1801), Plate 1: Aries Planisphere


    Uranographia Tab I. Stellatum Hemisphaeri um Arietis

    Bode included two planisphere plates. They are not southern and northern hemispheres; each one has Polaris at the top and the south pole at the bottom. Each one is centered upon an equinox point (where the ecliptic or path of the Sun and the celestial equator intersect). The March equinox point was in Aries in antiquity; by Bode’s time, due to the precession of the equinoxes, it had shifted to Pisces. The September equinox point was in Libra in antiquity; by Bode’s time it had shifted to Virgo.  Bode titled the plates as the Aries and Libra planispheres.

    The Aries planisphere, centered on the March equinox in Pisces, includes these constellations, among others, which appear high overhead in the night skies of autumn:

    Equatorial:  Orion, Taurus, Harpa Georgii, Cetus, Aries, Pisces, Pegasus, Aquarius, Aquila, Scutum.

    Northern:  Auriga, Perseus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Draco, Honores Frederici, Cepheus, Cygnus, Lyra.

    Southern:  Eridanus, Apparatus Chemicus, Machina Electrica, Apparatus Sculptoris, Horologium, Toucan, Phoenix, Grus, Indus, Pavo, Tubus Astronomicus, Octans Nautica, Microscopium, Sagittarius, Globus Aerostatic.

    In March, the Aries-Pisces equinox (the center of the Aries planisphere) is traveling with the Sun, rising in the east in the mornings and setting in the west in the evenings. Imagine the center of the planisphere has the Sun pinned to it for that day, and that’s how it would move across the sky. Therefore the constellations near the center of this planisphere are invisible in the daytime sky at that time unless there is a solar eclipse. They would be visible directly opposite the Sun at the September equinox. 

  • Bode (1801), plate 11: Pisces


    Bode's names for the northern and southern fish in Pisces should not be confused with the fish in the southern hemisphere, e.g., Pisces Austrinus (PsA).

  • Linum Piscium

    Asterism Origin and History

    Bode portrays the string that connects the two fish in Pisces.