Constellation of the Month: Pegasus

David Baumgartner writes that Andromeda and Pegasus were the only two constellations to share a common star, but that has since been given solely to Pegasus.

This article was contributed by David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.

In my November article we learned about the Princess Andromeda. And I say “We” because it seems that I learn more from writing this column than you who read it. Whoever the two of you are. I have always said from the very beginning that the more I learn about this subject the more ignorant I feel I have become.

But let’s get back to the Princess. Andromeda and Pegasus were the only two constellations to share a common star, but has since been given solely to Pegasus. Pegasus goes by a few names: the Great Square, the Flying Horse, or just the Square. You can call it whatever you would like. Just don’t call it wrong in front of a few amateur astronomers, for they will proudly, yet politely, inform you that you are mistaken, and hope they are the first to tell you so out of their bunch. But don’t let that bother you, it won’t be long before you will be just like them, eager to tell anyone who will listen just how much you know about this great hobby. 

Pegasus isn’t a perfect square, but good enough. I have a hard time finding it, let alone wondering if it is square or not. The four corner stars are not the brightest in the sky, but considered of the second rank. And when you are in the best of sky there are so many stars showing up that Pegasus becomes very hard to pick out. This poor animal has been cut in half, lost its wings, and is upside down in the sky. Just no respect for our Flying Horse.  

So get out there tonight and look straight up overhead to the zenith and be the first to impress someone by naming that big square. 

Have a safe and great Christmas by staying at home with the family. 

Clear skies.

Events to come this month:

Don’t forget on Dec. 16 when a First Quarter Moon visits Jupiter and Saturn from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then on the Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will be only 0.1 degrees apart. Want to know how close that is? Go out and see for yourself that night at 6 p.m. They don’t call it the Christmas star for nothing. This event won’t happen again until, well a long time. That’s my way of saying I just don’t know.

Dec. 16: Moon passes 3 degrees south of Jupiter

Dec. 16: Moon passes 3 degrees south of Saturn

Dec. 20: Moon passes 5 degrees south of Neptune

Dec. 21: Winter Solstice occurs

Dec. 21: Jupiter passes 0.1 south of Saturn

Dec. 21: First quarter Moon

Dec. 22: Venus passes 6 degrees north of Antares

Dec. 23: Moon passes 6 degrees south of Mars

Dec. 24: Moon is sat apogee (251,663 miles from Earth)

Dec. 24: Moon passes 3 degrees south of Uranus

Dec. 25: Merry Christmas

Dec. 29: Full Moon


David Baumgartner

I am a local fella. Local schools from Fremont, Sacred Heart, Santa Anita, Hollister High, to San Benito Jr. Collage (Now Gavilan). Then joined the US Air Force where I specialized in Airborne Radar. Married my high school sweetheart JoAnne., shortly after three children arrived; Cindi, Michael, and Lisa. Somehow we ended up with nine Grandchildren.  Went on to San Luis Obispo, Guesta, Collages, and on to Univ. of New Mexico. Came back to Hollister. Opened up Three Pet Stores; Dave's Aquarium Pets & Supplies in SLO, Watsonvile, and Hollister. The family spent two and a half years running a ranch up in Oregon. Made our way back to Hollister.  Got my Real Estate Licence in 1982, opened my own office in 93'. In the mean time raised Swans and revitalized my old hobby of Astronomy.  In 2001 I was named Chamber of Commence Man of the Year. I think I was the only one nominated. I don't care, I'm taking it. Now in December of 2018 I retired. Not sure if I was forced out or not. Non the less, I am retired, at 77 years of age I think it was time. Now the last thing I have to do is buy a coffin. I hear COSCO sells them now. But the only drawback is; you have to buy them in lots of six.  I guess I could buy them for the whole family. Not that funny, but thrifty.