Challenge: Pegasus

The Winged Horse Flies High

The constellation Pegasus represents the winged horse of mythology. It covers a large area in the sky, but it is mostly known for the pattern of four stars called the “Great Square of Pegasus.” None of them are particularly bright, but you should be able to spot them in the city.

A few hours after sunset (about 6:00 pm Central time or so), look toward the southeast, high in the sky. Look for a pattern of four stars that is like a large diamond. If you recognize the constellation Cassiopeia (the “W” of stars that looks more like a number “3” right now), find it and look diagonally right and upward. The four widely spaced stars you will see make up the Great Square, tilted a bit, as if the horse is rearing its legs. The brightest of the four (the star Alpheratz) is the left corner of the diamond and the faintest is the bottom corner.

Interestingly enough, when the official borders of the constellations were drawn by astronomers, the brightest star of the Great Square of Pegasus, Alpheratz, was given to the constellation Andromeda. But it’s easier to say the Great Square of Pegasus than to say the Great Square of Pegasus/Andromeda.

For more tips on finding Pegasus, visit this page at EarthSky.

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