This constellation is best visible at night during the month of November (Sasaki 94). Astrologists have established that the Sun moves through the Pieces region from March 15th to April 14th (Sasaki 94). Only faint stars that appear as small circlets connected together by a string are observed in the area occupied by Pisces. The brightest star in this Pisces constellation is eta Piscium. It is a giant star accompanied by other faint stars. Its luminosity is 316 times that of the sun (Sasaki 96). It is then followed by the following stars in sequence: gamma Piscium, alpha Piscium or Alrescha, omega Piscium, iota Piscium, and beta Piscium (Sasaki 96). The other interesting stars found in this constellation include Van Maanen’s Star and Messier 74 (NGC 628).
Pisces constellation was first identified by Greek astronomer, Ptolemy, in the 2nd Century. Pisces is a Latin word for “fish” (plural) (Sasaki 94). In the sky, it appears as two fishes swimming in opposite directions and connected at the tails by a piece of string. In Greek mythology, Pisces is likened to the fish into which goddess Aphrodite and her son Eros, transformed into while escaping from the monster Typhon (Sasaki 94). Typhon was born from Tartarus and Gaia (Mother Earth). It was Gaia’s youngest offspring and the most mortal and largest monster ever. It was so fearsome that even other gods such as Olympus, who flee to Egypt, were afraid to fight it in battles. Eros and Aphrodite transformed into fishes, and swam up the Nile while fleeing from Typhon and Zeus transformed into a ram while escaping from Typhon (Sasaki 96). Typhon captured Zeus, who was later released by Pan and Hermes. Zeus then took a war to Typhon and chased him to Sicily. In Sicily, Zeus threw Mount Aetna at Typhon, finally subduing it (Sasaki 96). It was eventually defeated. Aphrodite and Eros were given fish-like images in the heavens to commemorate the period Typhon nearly overthrew Olympus.
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