Meet Piscis Austrinus the Southern Fish
Piscis Austrinus has few bright stars and very faint deep-sky objects. The constellation of the Southern Fish is close to Capricornus in the spring sky for those in the Southern Hemisphere. Northern Hemisphere residents who don’t live too far north and want to catch a peek of this constellation can look below the constellations Capricornus and Aquarius in the fall. Piscis Austrinus has a vague, kite-shaped, fishlike form.
The stars of Piscis Austrinus
Piscis Austrinus has one very bright star: Fomalhaut. Fomalhaut, also known as Alpha Piscis Austrini, is magnitude 1.17 and lies 25 light-years away. Its name means the mouth of the fish in Arabic. Fomalhaut is the 18th brightest star in the sky. It is a white, A-type star.
The next brightest stars in this constellation are magnitude 4.1 Epsilon, magnitude 4.2 Delta, magnitude 4.2 Beta and magnitude 4.3 Iota Piscis Austrini.
In the farthest southeastern corner of the constellation boundary is a star known by a few names, including Lacaille 9352 and GSC 7512:12363. Lacaille 9352 is unremarkable at magnitude 7.3, but it is one of the closest stars to the sun at 10.72 light-years away. This red dwarf is also notable in its proper motion. As one of the fastest-moving stars known, it travels at approximately 75 miles per second.
The deep-sky objects in Piscis Austrinus are all very faint. One of the “brightest” of these faint fuzzies is NGC 7314, a spiral galaxy at magnitude 10.9.
Bottom line: Piscis Austrinus the Southern Fish is notable for its one bright star, Fomalhaut. From the Northern Hemisphere, look south in autumn to find it.