Constellation - Pegasus

Constellation - Pegasus

Pegasus constellation.jpg

Stephan's Quintet by NASA

Stephan's Quintet X-ray + Optical.jpg

Pegasus, the winged horse was one of the original 48 constellations described by Ptolemy. It is a large constellation ranking 11th in size. It is best seen in the northern hemisphere in Autumn and Spring in the Southern hemisphere. The constellation is easily recognisible due to the distinctive 'Great Square' of Pegasus made from magnitude 2 stars. Pegasus is home to a number of unusual galaxies and if you have a large telescope you may be able to spot Stephan's Quintet. The quintet contains 5 close galaxies that are violently interacting with each other. In the future it is thought that the quintet will merge into one large spiral galaxy. It can be found about a half a degree south west of number 3 on the chart above. Be warned though the galaxies have apparent magnitude of around 14 to 15. This makes them faint even in large telescopes

Look out for the Pegasids meteor shower that peaks on the 9th July and reaches about 3 meteors per hour.


Pegasus was a winged horse that was born from the body of Medusa. Bellerophon rode the winged horse to the top of Mount Olympus after defeating the Chimeara. This act by a mortal angered the God Zeus who had Pegasus stung by an insect. The sting caused Bellerophon to fall to his death. Zeus took Pegasus and made the horse the carrier of his lightning bolts and honoured this by placing him in the night sky.

Take the Tour:

Number Object Description Magnitude Surface Brightness
1 C43 Galaxy 10.6 13.2
2 C44 Galaxy 10.9 13.4
3 C30 Galaxy 9.5 13.3
4 C22 Planetary Nebula 8.6 5.6

Each image is the size of a full moon for size comparison.

C43, The Little Sombrero Galaxy:


Caldwell 43, or NGC 7814 is an end-on spiral galaxy. It is found about 40 million light years away. It is known by amateur astronomers as the Little Sombrero Galaxy due to its similarity with M104. 



Caldwell 44, or NGC 7479 is a barred spiral galaxy. It is located about 106 million light years away from us. It has had supernovae in the past and is undergoing active starburst formation at the moment. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1784. It is a beautiful face on galaxy with asymmetric arms.

C30, The Milky Way's Twin:


Caldwell 30 or NGC 7331 is a spiral galaxy found about 41 million light years away. This is an interesting galaxy as it is thought to look the same as our Milky Way. Hence its nicknamed 'the Milky Way's twin'. Although this galaxy has an unusual property. The central bulge of stars rotates in the opposite direction to the rest of the galaxy. This phenomenon is yet to be explained.

C22, The Blue Snowball Nebula:


Caldwell 22 or NGC 7662 is a planetary nebula located somewhere between 1,800 light years and 5,600 light years away. A magnification of about 100x can show a blue disk in a 6 inch telescope. This is a good target and a favourite among backyard astronomers.

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Stephan's Quintet Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/E. O'Sullivan Optical: Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope/Coelum

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