International Star Registry

All Constellations

Pegasus - Winged Horse

The Wings of this flying horse are shown in an inverted posture. Pegasus occupies a space between the Swan, the Dolphin and the Eagle on the west and the Northern Fish and Andromeda on the east.

Pegasus is an easy constellation to find. The center of the great square is almost devoid of any other stars and the absence is obvious.

The Alpha star of Andromeda is shared with Pegasus. Andromeda’s eye is called “Alpheratz”, meaning the “horse’s navel” in Arabic. Alpheratz forms the upper left star of the great square and has a 2.1 magnitude.

Markab, “saddle”, the lower right star of the square is a 2.5 magnitude white star. Markab is the Alpha of Pegasus.

The Beta is “Scheat,” or shoulder, and is the upper right of the great square, a 2.2 magnitude and a deep yellow color.

There is a meteor shower from Pegasus on May 30. Eta Pegasides appears near the shoulder star. Remember, to find Pegasus look for the big empty square in the sky; look for nothing.

This much-talked-about flying horse, the son of Neptune and Medusa, is said to have sprung from the blood of Medusa, which spilled into the ocean after Perseus cut off her head. Hesiod, the Greek poet of the 7th Century B.C., says he got his name from being born near the sources of the ocean.

According to Ovid, he lived on Mount Helicon, where by striking the Earth with his foot he raised the fabled fountain called Hippocrene. Mt. Helicon, the home of the Muses, would be approximately 50 miles north of Athens.

The Muses were the 9 daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne (Memory); they were in charge of the arts and sciences. Calliope was in charge of epic poetry; Clio of history; Erato, love poetry; Euterpe, lyric; Melpomene, tragedy; Polymnia, sacred poetry; Tersichore, choral dance; Thalia, comedy; and Urania, astronomy. Pegasus at any rate became the favorite of the Muses.

The son of Glaucus and grandson of Sisyphus, founder of Corinth, was Bellerophen. He had the frightful task to slay the Chimera, a hideous monster that continually spouted flames. This monster had three heads; a lion, a goat, and a dragon. The front part of its body was that of a lion, the middle that of a goat, and the back part a dragon. It lived in Lycia, now southwest Turkey. The desolate wilderness at the top of this country was dominated by lions, the fruitful middle by goats, and the marshy bottom by serpents. Bellerophon was the first person to live there. The Chimaera was an obvious allegory to the land Belleophon conquered.

Bellerophon, after praying in the temple of Athena, was given a golden bridle to harness and break the winged horse. Mounting Pegasus, they rose into the air, found the Chimaera and quickly dispatched him with an arrow. After killing the monster, Bellerophon attempted to fly up to heaven on Pegasus. Jupiter did not appreciate this presumptuousness and sent an insect to string the horse. The startled Pegasus thus threw his rider. Bellerophon, struck blind and lame by the fall, was left to wander the countryside and died lonely and destitute. Pegasus continued on to heaven where he was placed among the constellations.
Right Ascension 10:44
Diameter (°)27
Area (square °)1121
Opposition Sep 01
Size Rank 7th
Brightness Rank 26th