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Learn the Constellations
The First Light Astronomy Kit from David Chandler Company
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The American Association of Amateur Astronomers

Learn the Constellations
The First Light Astronomy Kit from David Chandler Company

 Buy it Now or Find Out More

The Constellation Pegasus - The Flying Horse

Mythology: Pegasus - The Winged Horse 

A snow white, winged horse with a mane of glittering gold, Pegasus was the son of Poseidon and the Gorgon Medusa. As Perseus beheaded Medusa, Pegasus was born from its blood which fell into the sea, creating a frothing foam. One fated day, Athena gave Pegasus to the warrior Bellerophon to aid him in defeating the Chimaera, a dreadful monster which was part lion, part serpent and part goat. Bellerophon was so proud after his successful conquest that he boldly attempted to ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus, home of the Gods, where mortals do not dwell. Zeus became infuriated at Bellerophon's self importance and caused the flying horse to throw his rider. Alone, Pegasus soared to the heavens where he became the Thundering Horse of Zeus and carrier of the divine lightning.

The constellations of Pegasus and Andromeda contain many galaxies, most of which are relatively faint. They challenge the observer not only to find them, but to detect detail in them.

The constellations Andromeda and Perseus, along with Pegasus, Casseopiea and Cepheus, are richly intertwined in mythology, but are vastly divergent in the objects they present to amateur astronomers. While Perseus lies along the Milky Way, and offers many sparkling open clusters and diffuse nebulae, Andromeda lies away from our galaxy's plane, and lets us see the inhabitants of intergalactic space. Some of the finest objects of their respective classes reside in these constellations, and it is well worth braving cold weather to observe them. Happy hunting!


M-15 - This is a nice, bright globular cluster that is easily seen in the viewfinder or binoculars. It handles magnification well, showing a tight mass of stars 8' in diameter with a much brighter central region. Individual stars are resolved around the edges and across its face but not quite to the center.

This cluster can be found by starting at Alpha Pegasi, the opposite corner of the Great Square of Pegasus from Andromeda, and then following the chain of stars depicting the head of the Flying Horse. M15 will be right at the end of the horses nose!

NGC 7177 - A small, moderately bright galaxy, 3'x1' in size, oriented NE-SW. It has a definite central bulge about 1' in diameter, a stellar nucleus, and is broadly concentrated to the center.

NGC 7331 - This is a large and bright galaxy, about 7'x2' oriented NW-SE. It has a bright core, a sharply brighter stellar nucleus, and at times, dust lanes can be seen along the SW edge. Very pretty.

NGC 7332 - A small, but very nice edge-on spiral. It is about 4'x7', oriented NE-SW, sharply brighter to the center, has a stellar nucleus, and a definite central bulge. A much fainter companion (NGC 7339) lies 10' to the east, and is 4'x'1', oriented E-W, and is only very slightly brighter to the center.

NGC 7479 - Large, 5-6'x3', extended NNW-SSE, with a slightly brighter center. There is a 13th magnitude star seemingly imbedded in its northern tip. The tips of the galaxy show hints of curving slightly, indicating that it is a barred spiral.

Stephan's Quintet - These five, tightly gathered galaxies are faint and nearly impossible to see in moderate instruments, so find a friend with a light bucket you can borrow. I found its brighter members in my scope, but was unable to definitely identify all of them. I was, however, treated to a fine view of them through my friend Keith Shank's 16" Newtonian at last year's club picnic. A truly impressive sight.

Article © Copyright Rick Raasch
© Copyright Edward P. Flaspoehler, Jr.

Messier Objects in Pegasus











Globular Cluster

21h 30.0

12d 10




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