My Lovely Pegasus, Running Through the Fields
They say when you buy a telescope that the first few nights you have it will be guaranteed to be cloudy. Well I am still without a telescope but someone somewhere must have got one because there has being nothing but cloudy nights for the last week.
Tonight I managed to catch a break in the clouds and got a great view of Pegasus. So this post will focus on the stars that make up this constellation. I did touch on some of these briefly in another post which you can read about here.
In that post I got a view of Pegasus and the Andromeda Galaxy while looking East at around 8 or 9 at night, however with the hour going back and the later time of year Pegasus is now located in a South Westerly direction. I suppose these changes are part of the interest of Astronomy in that you never have the same view all year long. As I mentioned earlier cloud cover has being a real problem over the last week or so, but a full moon has also limited my stargazing. At the moment it is a Waning Gibbous Moon that is 18 days old, so at least we are on the way to dark skies again.
Ok, back to Pegasus. This constellation gets its name after Pegasus, the winged horse from Greek mythology. There are 13 key stars that make up the constellation.
Starting with the nose of the horse is Enif
Enif (Epsilon Pegasi)
Enif is the brightest star of the constellation. It is an orange supergiant and is 672 light years from Earth. Enif probably only has a few million years to go, but it is unknown weather this star will explode in a supernova or die off as a white dwarf.
Baham (Theta Pegasi)
This star isÂ 97 light years from Earth. This star is about 500 million years old and is about half way through its lifespan.
Homam (Zeta Pegasi)
This star is about 204 light years from Earth. The radius of this star is about 4 times that of the Sun.
Markab (Alpha Pegasi)
Markab is one of the four stars that make up the Great Square of Pegasus. It is theÂ 3rd brightest star in the constellation. ItÂ is 140 lights years from Earth, and has begun the process of dying. Very soon this star willÂ quickly expand and slow its rotation and become an orange giant. It will then brighten many times its current luminosity to die finally as a massive white dwarf.
Algenib (Gamma Pegasi)
Algenib makes up another corner of the Great Square. On researching this star I discovered that confusinglyÂ it shares its name with another star Gamma Persei. This star is located 390 light years from Earth. This star shows almost no rotational movement which suggests that we are viewing it from pole on.
Alpheratz (Alpha Andromadae)
This is the brightest star in the Andromeda and PegasusÂ constellations. It forms one ofÂ the corners of the Great Square of Pegasus. this makes it a connecting star between the 2 constellations Pegasus and Andromeda. It is about 97 light years from Earth, and is actually a binary star system.
Scheat (Beta Pegasi)
Scheat is located 196 light years from Earth . It is about 1500Â times as bright as our Sun. Scheat forms one of the corners of the Great Square of Pegasus.
Matar (Eta Pegasi)
Matar is actually a binary star and is the fifth brightest star in the Pegasus constellation. It is located about 167 light years from Earth. The 2 starsÂ orbit each other every 813 days.
This star is 252 lights years from Earth. It is a giant yellow star and is about 92 times as bright as our Sun. It is estimated to be about 590 million years old.
This star is located 106 light years from Earth. It is believed that this star has exhausted its supply of Hydrogen at its core and so has evolved into a giant star. Although it mass is similar to our Sun, its radius has expanded to almost 10 times the Suns radius.
This is aÂ yellow giant star, It is located about 394 light years from Earth. This star is sometimes referred to by its Arabic name Sadalpheris or Sad Al Faris, meaning Luck of the Stallion
This is a binary star system located about 40 light years from Earth. The 2 stars that make up the system are called Iota Pegasi A and Iota Pegasi B. In about 4 billion years A will evolve into a giant star and start to transfer its mass onto B.