continued from Starlit Sky: 23. Aquarius
The next constellation we will track is the mythical flying horse in the sky Pegasus.
To locate Pegasus, look to the east of Altair of Aquila constellation. Another way to locate it will be to look above Aquarius. You can distinctly make out 4 stars placed like a square. This square is imagined to be the horse’s body.
The brightest star of this constellation is Enif. It is the muzzle of the horse. The stars Markab, Scheat, Algenib and Alpheratz together form the pegasus square.
The Markab is called the poorvabhadra star in the Indian Astronomical system. The star Alpheratz is called the uttarabhadra star of the Indian Astromical system.
It is interesting to note that one vertex of the pegasus square is a part of another constellation. That distinction belongs to Alpheratz star.
That constellation is the Andromeda constellation. Alpheratz is the brightest of the pegasus square. You will notice a bright star beyond it. That is the Mirach star. Drawing a line from Alpheratz to Mirach, extend it further, you will reach Almach. Faint stars are seen above Mirach. All these stars put together is the Andromeda constellation.
The claim to fame of this constellation is the presence of the only other galaxy apart from the Milky Way that can be seen with the naked eye. The Andromeda galaxy! Of all the billions of galaxies in the universe, Andromeda is the nearest galaxy to the Milkyway. It can be seen in the Andromeda constellation.
To spot this galaxy, find the Andromeda galaxy, make a fist and place your hand in line of your eye and Mirach. Somewhere there you will see a fuzzy light.
Andromeda galaxy is a spiral galaxy that has twice the number of stars in the Milky Way. According to scientists, Andromeda and Milky way are likely to collide in the next 4.5 billion years and form a gigantic disc galaxy.
to be continued……………
all images are sourced from wikipedia and google images