Skywatch: The winged horse is high in the sky


The first full week of fall is here and what better way to welcome it than with a classic autumn constellation.

Pegasus is one of the largest constellations in the sky and it’s named after the mythical winged horse that was born of Medusa’s neck when Perseus beheaded her.

If the name Medusa sounds familiar it should be. She was the Gorgon sister who was so ugly anyone who looked at her face would be turned to stone, she’s also the one who had snakes for hair. Pegasus was the horse that Bellerophon rode when he killed the fire-breathing Chimaera.

The cocky hero tried to use the winged horse to fly to Mount Olympus and join the gods. He didn’t make it… but Pegasus did and eventually was placed in the heavens by Zeus.

The constellation’s most recognizable feature is the asterism known as “the Great Square of Pegasus”. Pegasus can be found in the eastern sky after sunset rising overhead throughout the night.

On Tuesday night you can use the waxing crescent moon to help you locate the planet Saturn. As night falls look in the southwest and just below the moon you’ll find the ringed planet of Saturn. Just below and right of it is Antares, the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius.

The moon will continue to brighten during the week and at 10:54 Wednesday night it’ll reach First Quarter Phase. Get out early because the half-moon will be setting shortly after midnight on Thursday morning. Happy hunting!