Starwatch: the little horse of the sky is not so easy to find

To see Equuleus you will require a dark site, well away from streetlamps, and patience

Chart

Having tracked down Jupiter, Saturn and the moon last week, we’re going to stay in this part of the sky for a few weeks and locate some of the fainter constellations. This week, we are going to find a small, faint constellation that is easily overlooked. It is Equuleus, the little horse or foal.

The chart shows the view looking south-east from London on Monday at midnight. Nestled between much larger constellations, Equuleus is undoubtedly tough to find. It will require a dark site, well away from streetlamps, and patience as your eyes adjust to the dark.

The apparent brightness of a star is called its magnitude. The brightest stars are said to be magnitude one. For example, Altair in Aquila, the eagle, is a first-magnitude star. The faintest stars visible to the naked eye are said to be magnitude six. Equuleus contains no stars brighter than magnitude four, so it will take some searching for.

Find the bright orb of Jupiter and look up. Early in the week, the waning gibbous moon does not help, so later towards the weekend might be the best time to look. Equuleus is one of the 48 constellations listed in the 2nd century by Ptolemy, and rather charmingly is located in the sky next to Pegasus, the winged horse.

Contributor

Stuart Clark

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Starwatch: find Mercury, with a little help from Venus
Mercury can be difficult to spot in the twilight sky, but this week Venus, the unmissable bright evening star, will be close by

Stuart Clark

11, Mar, 2018 @9:30 PM

Article image
Starwatch: how to see Pegasus the winged horse
Seventh-largest constellation is most easily spotted by finding the square denoting the horse’s body

Stuart Clark

25, Oct, 2021 @5:00 AM

Starwatch: how to find Hercules and Corona Borealis
Two of the constellations first defined by Ptolemy, though faint, are well placed for observation this month

Stuart Clark

03, Jun, 2019 @8:01 AM

Article image
Starwatch: how to find the Andromeda Galaxy
The Andromeda Galaxy is the furthest thing you can see with the naked eye. But first you must get far away from any light source

Stuart Clark

28, Oct, 2018 @9:30 PM

Article image
Starwatch: follow the moon to find the Beehive
The Beehive star cluster, in Cancer, can be seen with the unaided eye, but you will need a place marker to find it

Stuart Clark

07, Apr, 2019 @8:29 PM

Article image
Starwatch: find a sliver of moon, guided by brilliant Venus
Enjoy the beauty of a tiny young crescent moon as it approaches conjunction with Venus the brightest planet

Stuart Clark

26, Jan, 2020 @9:30 PM

Article image
Starwatch: Follow the Plough to find bright stars and the Northern Crown
This week is a good time to see Orange giant Arcturus and bright white Vega, with the Corona Borealis

Stuart Clark

10, May, 2020 @8:30 PM

Article image
Starwatch: follow Jupiter and Saturn to find the sea goat
Capricornus is one of the fainter constellations, but at the moment there are two bright planets pointing the way

Stuart Clark

06, Sep, 2020 @8:30 PM

Article image
Starwatch: how to find the Great Diamond in the sky
The spring asterism known as the Great Diamond is a pattern of four stars from different constellations

Stuart Clark

07, Jun, 2020 @8:30 PM

Article image
Starwatch: look either side of the moon to find Gemini, the twins
The constellation, one of the 12 zodiacal patterns, is between Ursa Major and Orion in the northern hemisphere

Stuart Clark

01, Nov, 2020 @9:30 PM