V. October in the Sierra sky

Quinta entraga de nuestro colabor M42 sobre observación astronómica en el cielo de la Sierra. Como, en los cuatro meses anteriores, esta miniguía es publicada por www.sierradegatadigital.es en inglés, gracias a Jakki Cosway, alemán, gracias a Hans Schnyder, y en fala, gracias a Franjo Antúnez. Sirvan estos artículos como guías para practicar el turismo astronómico en nuestra tierra


The eighth month of the Romans, OCTOBER.

As we are already familiar with the Square of Pegasus, we can use it as reference. One of the stars doesn’t belong to it, but forms part of Andromeda (ch. 11), ALPHERATZ (the horse’s navel). On October 1st, at midnight, it is at a little over three hands above Pozuelo de Zarzón. Andromeda has a characteristic straight line, formed by Alpheratz, MIRACH (name of an article of clothing round the waist), at two and a half hands above Villanueva de la Sierra, and ALAMAK (an animal similar to a badger), a little lower and above Torrecilla de Los Angeles.

But the most famous part of this constellation is not a star but a galaxy, ANDROMEDA’S NEBULOSA, M31, which is the furthest object (2.2 million light years) visible to the naked eye, like a diffused stain above Hernán-Pérez.

Almost biting part of the Square are the two fish of Pisces (ch. 14) formed by less brilliant stars. One of them, near Mirach, and the other, underneath the Square, forming a group known as THE WHEEL, at two and a half hands above the area of Calzadilla. The best known star of Pisces is AL RISCHA (the rope), the knot that joins the two ropes to which the fish are bound, at a little more than a hand above Villa del Campo.

Underneath Pisces we find Cetus (ch. 14), the whale about to devour Andromeda. Its head has an irregular pentagonal form and in it is MENKAR (the nose), at a little over a hand between Santibañez el Alto and Pozuelo de Zarzón. In the tail, near the waters overflowing from Aquarius (ch, 13), is DENEB KAITOS (the whale’s tail), a little to the left of Calzadilla and a hand and a half away. But the most famous of the stars of Cetus is MIRA (the marvellous one), half way down the neck and near the knot of Pisces. As its size varies between three and ten during 11 months, it’s not always visible, but it is to be found at more or less a hand between Villa del Campo and Guijo de Galisteo.

And so till next month.