Of all the constellations recognized in the night sky, Pegasus is, perhaps, the one that most captures the imagination, from ancient times all the way to the present day.
Said to represent the mythological winged horse, Pegasus is one of 88 ancient officially recognized modern constellations, and was among the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy, the Second Century Greek astronomer.
Nearby constellations include Andromeda, Lacerta, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Delphinus, Equuleus, Aquarius, and Pisces.
Pegasus contains 88 stars, 17 of which make up its shape. Its brightest star is Epsilon Pegasi, also known as Enif. Other stars of note include 51 Pegasi, which was the first Sun-like star discovered to have a planet orbiting it, and IK Pegasi, a binary star system that could turn supernova. Only two deep sky objects are found within its boundaries: M15, a globular cluster located near Epsilon Pegasi, and the spiral galaxy NGC 7742.
Pegasus is one of the most popular figures from Greek mythology. God of horses, Pegasus was the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and the snake-haired gorgon Medusa. He was tamed by the hero Bellerophon, who was given a golden bridle by the gods that allowed him to ride the winged horse. Together, Pegasus and Bellerophon fought the Amazons, a nation of female warriors, and the Chimera, a three-headed monster that was part lioness, part goat, and part snake. After slaying the Chimera, Bellerophon tried to ride Pegasus all the way to Mount Olympus. To punish the warrior for his arrogance, Zeus sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus, causing Bellerophon to fall into a thorn bush. The hero became crippled and lived out the rest of his days in pain and misery.
Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.