PsA - Piscis Austrinus the Southern Fish

Intro and Visual description

Unlike Pisces, the zodiac constellation which consists of two fish held together by a string, Piscis Austrinus is a single fish. Piscis Austrinus is a very faint constellation located south of Aquarius, and is often depicted as drinking from Aquarius’ water jar (but why would a fish want to drink water??). Except for the bright star Formalhaut, Piscis Austrinus is rather unremarkable.

Special Stars

Alpha-Piscis Austrini, better known as Formalhaut (Arabic for "mouth of the fish"), is one of the southernmost bright, first-magnitude stars visible to northern latitudes. Declination: -30 degrees south. Distance: 22 LY. Locate Formalhaut by tracing south from beta-Pegasis through alpha-Pegasi, across Pisces and Aquarius. Formalhaut is surrounded by a cloud of cool gas, possibly planet-forming material, according to 1983 measurements by the Infra-Red Astronomical Satellite.

Origin and History

Piscis Austrinus is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

Called Piscis Notius by Bode (to be distinguished from Bode’s Piscis Volans also shown here next to Argo Navis).

Skylore, Literature and Culture

An ancient constellation, representing the Babylonian fish-god Oannes, who came to Earth to teach humans how to become civilized (do we need him to return now?).