Home to one of the top 20 brightest stars in the Sky, Piscis Austrinus is definitely one to look for if you’re in the Southern hemisphere. This well known fish constellation can be spotted just beneath Aquarius, and unlike the constellation Pisces, it is only made up of one fish, not two. Let’s look closer at this constellation to learn more about it.
Piscis Austrinus Constellation
- Bordered By; Capricornus, Microscopium, Grus, Sculptor, Aquarius
- Named after; The Southern Fish
- Declination; -30°
- Brightest Star; Fomalhaut
- Best seen; October
- Size rank; 60th
- Constellation family; Heavenly Waters
What is Piscis Austrinus named after?
As you may have guessed, this constellation takes its name from the Latin words for “Southern Fish”. In Greek mythology, the Greeks referred to this constellation as the Great Fish. It is heavily related to the Aquarius constellation, which borders Piscis Austrinus, with Aquarius said to be poured water onto the fish itself.
Who founded the Piscis Austrinus Constellation?
More than half (48 out of 88) of the constellations in the sky can all be traced back to one man. This mans name was Ptolemy, and his catalogs of stars have been used to create many constellations that we still use today. Ptolemy is known to be one of the most influential Greek astronomers of all time, and much of his work was taken from those before him. So although we can only trace this constellation back to AD 165 in writing, it almost certainly goes back hundreds or even thousands of years before that.
How can I see Piscis Austrinus in the sky?
If you want to see Piscis Austrinus, then you’ll need to look for it from the Southern hemisphere. It is best seen in the months of October and November, and can be found by its brightest star Fomalhaut, or by looking for neighbouring Aquarius.
Main Stars of Piscis Austrinus
As you can see below, the stars come together to form a fish! As well as the stars that make up the figure, you can also find Lacaille 9352 in this constellation too. This is the brightest red dwarf star in the entire sky.
You can see it with a telescope (it isn’t bright enough to be seen with the naked eye), and it is very close to Earth. In fact, only 10 stars at closer than Lacaille 9352 to us, as it is only around 10 light years away.
- Fomalhaut – The most well known star in this constellation is best known as Fomalhaut, but it is also the Alpha too, so you may see it referred to as Alpha Piscis Austrini too. It is the brightest out of these stars, and the 18th brightest in our entire night sky too. We know that it has its own planetary system like our Sun, and that it is around 8000K in temperature. It is only approximately 25 light years away from the Sun.
- Epsilon Piscis Austrini (ε) – The closest of the major stars to Fomalhaut, the second brightest star in this constellation is Epsilon Piscis Austrini. However, it is nowhere near as noticeable as the Alpha, so it can be a little difficult to spot. The star itself is a B type main sequence star.
- Delta Piscis Austrini (δ) – As one of the older stars in the constellation, Delta Piscis Austrini is a little less than 4 billion years in age. It is a red clump star, and you’ll still be able tom see it even without using a telescope.
- Beta Piscis Austrini (β) – This binary star system is known as Beta Piscis Austrini, and it is approximately 143 years away from the Sun. In Chinese culture, this star actually joins with the Delta star, and is known as the “heavenly rope”.
- Iota Piscis Austrini (ι) – Iota is around 500 light years away from us, and it is a blue main sequence star.
In conclusion, although many people have never heard of Piscis Austrinus, it is a good constellation to look for if you live in the Southern part of the world. Due to its brightest star and close proximity to other well known constellations, it can be quite easy for find throughout the end of the year.