Pisces (Pronounciation:Pye-seas, Abbrev:Psc, Latin:Piscium) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Pisces takes up 889.417 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 2.16% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Fishes . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.
Pisces is a member constellation of the Zodiac grouping, a group of 12 star signs that astrologers use to predict someones future based on their date of birth and which constellation appeared when the Sun set. The Zodiac year may be divided up equally between the twelve signs but when they appear in the night sky no longer conforms to the Zodiac calendar. Pisces is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator.
The brightest star in Pisces is Kullat Nunu. There are 33 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Pisces. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Pisces Star List Page.
The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Pisces is 1953. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 79. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 18.
There are 1 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.
The nearest star to Earth is Van Maanen's Star which is roughly about 13.9 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 217107 which is about 64.77 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 5218 which is located about 81540.84 Light Years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Pisces with the naked eye is 60 Piscium. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.98. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan
The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.
Van Maanen's star is a small white dwarf and is the third closest dwarf star after Sirius B and Procyon B white dwarves. It is on its own compared to the other two that are closer. It is named after Adriaan van Maanen, a Dutch-American astronomer who discovered it whilst researching a Lalande 1299. It is also the nearest star of any type in the constellation to us.
Aphrodite and her son Eros were transformed into fish to escape the monster Typhon by river nymphs. To show a sign of her gratitude, fishes were transposed into the sky. The fishes are shown tied together to indicate that they don't lose one another.
There are 20 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|April Piscids||April 8-29||Apr. 20/21|
|Delta Piscids||Jun 20-26||Jun 23||Linteum|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||Yes|
|Brightest Star||Kullat Nunu|
|Area||889.417 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||2.16%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||33|
|Meteor Shower Count||20|
|Nearest Star||Van Maanen's Star|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 217107|
|Dimmest Star||60 Piscium|
|Furthest Star||HIP 5218|
|Bright Star Count||79|
|Hipparcos Star Count||1953|
|Main Star Count||18|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||1|
|*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count||0|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Andromeda|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.
|Messier 74 (NGC628)||Spiral Galaxy||24,000-36,000 kly||+15:47||01h 36m 7|
The April Piscids aren`t a well documented meteor shower. It therefore assumed to be a small, unspectacular meteor shower compared to Lyrids which is touted as the first major meteor shower of the year and occurs in the same month.
|Max Activity Date||20 Apr|
|Activity Period||April 8-29|
|Max Activity Date||23 Jun|
|Activity Period||Jun 20-26|