Piscis Austrinus, also known as Piscis Australis, is a fish lying
on its back, drinking in the waters pouring from the jars of Aquarius.
The asterism leaves a lot to the imagination.
The constellation was known in ancient times, and is said to be the
original "Pisces". It is thought that the constellation referred to the
Assyrian fish god Dagon and the Babylonian god Oannes. Even the Arabs
called the constellation Al Hut al Janubiyy (The Large Southern Fish).
There are several fine binaries here, as well as a red dwarf with the
fourth highest proper motion. Except for Fomalhaut, all other stars in this constellation are fourth or
The bright star Fomalhaut (alpha PsA) was so named from Fum al
Hut, meaning "The Fish's Mouth", although it carried many other
names as well, including Al Difdi al Awwal ("The First Frog").
Piscis Austrinus has several visual binaries, either fixed or moving
Beta PsA is a fixed binary: 4.5, 7.5; 172 degrees, 30.4".
Delta PsA is a fairly wide but faint binary: 4.5, 10; 244 degrees, 5".
Gamma PsA: 4.5, 8.5; 262 degrees, 4.3".
Eta PsA: 5.5, 6.5; 116 degrees, 1.6".
Piscis Austrinus has no notable variables.
Deep Sky Objects:
NGC 7172 is a spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on; there is a dark
equatorial band seen with larger scopes. The galaxy is two degrees NW of
In the same field, just to the south, lie three more galaxies: 7173, 7174,
Lacaille 9352 is a red dwarf 11.68 light years away, with a visual
magnitude of 7.44. It has a proper motion of 6.901", fourth highest
(after Barnard's Star, Kapteyn's Star, and Groombridge 1830).
Lacaille 9352 is found one degree SE of pi PsA; Burnham has a finder's
For a more detailed appreciation of Piscis Austrinus, visit the Binocular Section.
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