South of Andromeda and Triangle lays this inconspicuous constellation that represents two fish that are tied together with a knot at the tails. The Arabic word „Al Rischa“ for the 4.1m bright main star means nothing other than „node“.

ψ¹ Piscium is a close physical double star, whose 5.3 and 5.6m bright components are separated by only 30 arc seconds of each other. You need at least 11x magnification to clearly separate both stars. 240 light-years separate us from this system.

The conspicuously red colored TX Piscium is a 760 light-years distant carbon star whose surface temperature is only 4,700° F (2,600° C). Its brightness varies slowly and irregularly between about 5 and 6m. The cause of these variations is not known yet; maybe it is related to the carbon content of the atmosphere, which also weakens the blue portion of the light.

Even experienced observers need at least a 10 × 50 binocular and very good visibility conditions in order to perceive the galaxy M 74 as a weak patch of light – otherwise it will be hidden by the haze near the horizon. The eleven million light-years distant face-on galaxy is the only brighter deep-sky object in this constellation. The overall brightness of 9.4m is spread over an area of 9.4 × 10 minutes of arc, so that it hardly stands out from the sky background. M 74 was listed in John Herschel‘s General Catalogue of 1864 erroneously as a globular cluster. This error can be found even today in some catalogs.

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