Another famous myth related to Pegasus is that of another Greek hero, namely Bellerophon. Bellerophon was sent by King Iobates of Lycia to kill Chimera, a monster that could breathe fire.
- Pegasus Constellation
- Pegasus Constellation
- Pegasus, son of Medusa and Poseidon
- Pegasus and the Muses
- CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
- THE BIRTH OF PEGASUS
- PEGASUS & THE SPRING OF HIPPOCRENE
- Pegasus Lives at Mount Olympus
- Was Pegasus Ever Tame?
- Pegasus stars
- Markab – α Pegasi (Alpha Pegasi)
- Scheat – β Pegasi (Beta Pegasi)
- Algenib – γ Pegasi (Gamma Pegasi)
- Enif – ε Pegasi (Epsilon Pegasi)
- Homam – ζ Pegasi (Zeta Pegasi)
- Matar – η Pegasi (Eta Pegasi)
- Deep sky objects in Pegasus
- Messier 15 (M15, NGC 7078)
- Stephan’s Quintet (HCG 92, Arp 319)
- Flying Horse Mythology
- Greek Mythology
- Pegasus and Zeus
- Pegasus and the Muses
- Pegasus and Perseus
- The Legend of Bellerophon
- Enter Athena
- Defeating the Chimera
The constellation of Pegasus is the seventh largest constellation in the sky. Its name comes from the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology and is one of the oldest Greek constellations.
- The constellation of Pegasus was one of the first 48 Greek constellations, first mentioned by the famous astronomer Ptolemy in his 2nd century Almagest.
- Pegasus is now among 88 modern constellations, where it holds the title of the seventh largest constellation in the sky, extending at approximately 1,121 square degrees.
- Pegasus contains only one Messier object, the globular cluster Messier 15, which lies about 33,000 light-years from Earth.
- There is only one meteor shower associated with the constellation of Pegasus, the July Pegasids.
- The brightest star in Pegasus is Enif / Epsilon Pegasi, which has an apparent brightness of 2,399 magnitudes.
- About 12 stars in Pegasus have now been confirmed to have planets.
- There is one famous asterism in Pegasus, the Great Pegasus Square, which is formed by the three brightest stars in the constellation: Markab, Schat, Algenib, and the star Alpheratz, which is the brightest star in the Andromeda constellation.
- Asterism The Great Pegasus Square is used by astronomers as a guide in searching for famous deep sky objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy.
- There are many interesting bright stars in Pegasus, among them the brightest star Enif, the second brightest, Schat, the third brightest, Markab, the fourth brightest Algenib, a red dwarf and a star system of white dwarf stars labeled AG Pegasi, pulsating red giants Phi and Psi Pegasi , the white star Salm, or the first sun-like star discovered to include exoplanet 51 Pegasi.
- There are also many deep sky objects in the Pegasus constellation, such as the spiral galaxy NGC 7331, the Seyfert galaxy NGC 7742, Einstein’s Cross – quasar, and Stephan’s Quintet – galaxy cluster.
The constellation of Pegasus is one of the oldest and largest Greek constellations, first mentioned in Ptolemy’s Almagest, which contains 48 recorded constellations.
The constellation Pegasus was named and associated with the legendary winged horse, also called Pegasus, from Greek mythology. According to legend, the horse had magical powers, its hooves could, for example, dig a spring.
Hippocrene was one such spring, and was so blessed that those who drank from its water could write poetry. Pegasus was born when the legendary Greek hero Perseus chopped off the head of Medusa, fertilized by the god Poseidon.
He was born with Chrysaor of the blood of Medusa. Eventually, Pegasus became the horse of another legendary Greek hero, Bellerophon, who was asked to kill the Chimera and succeeded with the help of Athena and Pegasus.
Despite this success, Bellerophon asked Pegasus to take him to Mount Olympus after his children died. Although Pegasus agreed, he fell back to Earth after Zeus either threw a lightning bolt at him or sent a gadget to force Pegasus to knock down Bellerophon, after which he placed Pegasus in the heavens.
It is a weak meteor shower that peaks around July 9, with a ZHR of just 3 meteors per hour. These meteors are moving fast, however, at around 70 km / 43.4 miles per second.
Pegasus, son of Medusa and Poseidon
The myth said that Pegasus was the son of the mortal Medusa and Poseidon, the god of the sea. Pegasus and his brother Chrysaor were born of the blood of their decapitated mother Medusa, a gorgon deceived and killed by Perseus.
A more detailed version of the myth says that two of them were born when Medusa’s blood was mixed with the sea foam. The myth says that Pegasus was born a winged horse because his father Poseidon was shaped like a horse when he seduced Medusa. When Pegasus was born, a mighty thunderclap with lightning pierced the sky, and thus his connection with the forces of heaven was established.
But the most common version of the Pegasus myth says that the goddess Athena tamed the winged horse and gave it to Perseus, who later had to fly away to help his beloved Andromeda.
Pegasus and the Muses
Back to the aftermath of the birth of Pegasus. Without his parents, he was raised by the Muses on Mount Helikon, where he was taken by the goddess Athena. In all his excitement at being offered to these women, Pegasus was hitting the mountainside with his hooves, his footprints turning the springs into flowing fountains of inspiration.
These springs became sacred to the Muses who loved and respected the “flying horse”. But for one of them – Urania, the Muse of Astronomy and Universal Love, Pegasus was especially important. She saw a heroic future for Pegasus, as well as some possible heavenly honor that awaited him. Urania suffered a lot when Bellerophontes, the mythical hero, took Pegasus.
Hesiod’s story of the “kidnapping” of Pegasus by the Bellerophones confirmed that whenever Pegasus struck his hoof, an immediate fountain of inspiration burst forth. One of these sacred springs was Hippocrene (meaning “horse spring”) on Mount Helicon.
NGC 7318 is a pair of colliding galaxies, NGC 7318a and NGC 7318b, located approximately 300 million light-years away. Their apparent luminosity is magnitude 14.4 and 13.9, respectively.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
THE BIRTH OF PEGASUS
Birth of Pegasus and Chrysaor, beheaded Medusa, Perseus and the Gorgons, Athenian black figure pyxis C6th BC, Musée du Louvre
Hesiod, Theogony 280 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th BC.) :
“But when Perseus severed the head of Medusa (Medusa), from her blood grew the brawny Khrysaor (Chrysaor) and the horse Pegasos, named after the sources (pegai) of Okeanos (Oceanus), where he was born.”
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 42 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mitographer C2nd AD.) :
“When Perseus saw Medusa (Medusa), he beheaded her. As soon as her head was severed, the winged horse Pegasos and Chrysaor (Chrysaor), Geryon’s father, jumped out of her body. The father of the two was Poseidon.”
Lycophron, Alexandra 840 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd BC.) :
“The reaper Perseus, who relieved the pain of Medusa (Medusa) at the birth of the horse Pegasus and the human Chrysaor (Chrysaora), the stone-eyed weasel whose children sprang from her neck.”
Strabo, Geography 8. 6. 20 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st BC to C1st AD.) :
“Pegasos, a winged horse that sprang from the neck of the Medusa Gorgon (Medusa) when its head was severed.”
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 151 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd AD.) :
“Of Medusa, daughter of Gorgon and Neptune Poseidon, Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus were born.”
Ovid, Metamorfozy 4. 786 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1 BC to C1 AD.) :
While deep sleep held Medusa and her serpents, he Perseus cut her head clean from her neck; and from their mother’s blood, the fast-flying Pegasus and his brother Chrysaor (Chrysaor) jumped… Medusa is said to have been breached in the Minerva Shrine of Athena by the Sea Lord (Rector Pelaga) Poseidon.”
Ovid, Metamorfozy 6 119 ff :
“Poseidon as a bird associated with the serpentine mother Medousa (Medusa) of the Pegasus flying steed.”
Ovid, Fasti 3.449 ff (trans. Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st BC to C1st AD.) :
“People believe Pegasos jumped out with a bloody mane from the butchered Medusa’s pregnant neck. As he soared above the clouds and under the stars, the sky was his earth and his wings his feet.”
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31.13 ff (transl. Rouse) (Greek epic C5 AD.) :
“When Medousa (Medusa) was killed by Perseus, the neck was delivered from her twin birth, the Horse Pegasus and the Golden Sword Boy Khrysaor (Chrysaor).”
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 24.270 ff :
“Perseus landed on the serpentine belt of one Medusa, while her womb was still heavy and swollen with the young, still Pegasus foal; what if the sickle played the role of delivering Eileithya and harvested the neck of a pregnant Gorgon, the firstfruits of a horse’s neck?”
PEGASUS & THE SPRING OF HIPPOCRENE
Hippocrene (Hippocrene) was the holy source of the Muses (Musai) on Mount Helikon (Helicon) in Boiotia. It was said that he jumped out of the ground where he struck Pegasos’ winged horse with his hoof.
Aratus, Phaenomena 206 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek astronomical poem C3rd BC.) :
“The immense constellation of the Horse (Hippos)… He Pegasos, as people say, brought from the lofty Helicon (Helicon) the clear water of the bounteous Hippocrene. For not yet at the top of Helicon the springs from the fountain flowed, but the Horse struck him and immediately the gushing water spilled out under the impact of his fore foot, and the shepherds were the first to call this stream the Horse fountain. From the rock the water wells and you will never see it away from the people of Thespiai (Thespiae), but the Horse itself is circling in the skies of Zeus and is there for you to watch.”
Algenib is also almost four times hotter than our sun, with an average surface temperature of about 21179 K. It is quite a young star, only 18.7 million years old.
Pegasus Lives at Mount Olympus
After the battle with Bellerophon, Pegasus was sent to live on Mount Olympus along with the other horses belonging to Zeus. While living on Olympus, Pegasus helped Zeus find the best lightning bolts. Pegasus was allowed to carry lightning bolts for Zeus because he knew where the best lightning bolts came from.
Was Pegasus Ever Tame?
In most tales about Pegasus he acts like a wild horse, not a horse used to people and rides. There is no one story that tells us how or why the Pegasus allowed the Bellerophon to ride it. Most people believe that Athena tamed Pegasus because she gave Bellerophon a golden bridle that allowed him to ride Pegasus. There are other people who believe that Pegasus just made a decision and allowed Bellerophon to capture him.
Pegasus is a famous flying horse from Greek mythology. He is best known for helping Bellerophon overcome the Chimera. While there aren’t many stories about Pegasus, they are exciting and show how important he was to the ancient Greeks.
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Pegasus was not a unicorn. For starters, it didn’t have a horn on its head, like unicorns. And unicorns don’t have a pair of wings to fly like Pegasus.
Markab – α Pegasi (Alpha Pegasi)
Alpha Pegasi is a giant star belonging to spectral class B9 III. It has a apparent luminosity of 2.48 and is about 133 light years away. This is only the third brightest star in Pegasus. It has a radius almost five times the size of the sun.
The traditional name of the star comes from the Arabic word marekb, which means “horse saddle.”
Scheat – β Pegasi (Beta Pegasi)
Beta Pegasi is the second brightest star in the constellation. It has a star classification of M2.3 II-III, which means it is a red star halfway between the sub-giant stage and the giant stage. It is about 1,500 times brighter than the Sun.
The traditional name, Schat, comes from the Arabic Al Sā’id, which means “shoulder.”
Beta Pegasi is at magnitude 2.42 and is about 196 light-years distant. It is classified as a semi-regular variable star with a period of 43.3 days. Its brightness ranges from 2.31 to 2.74. The star loses mass and as a result has a shell of gas and dust that expands to a radius of about 3,500 times that of the sun.
Algenib – γ Pegasi (Gamma Pegasi)
Algenib is a sub-giant of spectral type B2 IV. It has a visual luminosity of 2.84 and is about 390 light-years distant. Means the lower left corner of Great Pegasus Square.
Gamma Pegasi is classified as a Beta Cephei variable, meaning that its variations in brightness can be attributed to pulsations of the star’s surface. Its radial pulsation period is 0.15175 days, during which its brightness varies from 2.78 to 2.89.
Algenib is almost nine times more massive than the sun and has about five times the radius of the sun. It is 5840 times brighter than the Sun.
Enif – ε Pegasi (Epsilon Pegasi)
Epsilon Pegasi is the brightest star in Pegasus. It has a visual brightness of 2,399 and is located about 690 light years from the Sun. Its traditional name, Enif, comes from the Arabic word meaning “nose”. The star signifies the face of the Pegasus.
Enif belongs to the spectral class K2 Ib. This means it is an orange supergiant. It is 12 times more massive than the Sun, about 5,000 times brighter, and has a radius of 185 times that of the Sun.
Epsilon Pegasi is classified as a slowly irregular LC type variable. It varies from 0.7 to 3.5 sizes. The spectrum of the star shows an excess of barium and strontium. The star is also notable for its relatively high singular speed (real speed) of 21.6 km / s.
Homam – ζ Pegasi (Zeta Pegasi)
Zeta Pegasi is a major sequence star of spectral type B8 V. It shines at magnitude 3,414 and is about 204 light-years from the Sun. It has four times the sun’s radius.
The star is classified as a slowly pulsating B star with little variation in brightness. It has a duration of 22.952 ± 0.804 hours and performs 1.04566 cycles per day.
The Zeta Pegasi is a high-speed rotator with an estimated rotational speed of 140 to 210 km / s. It has two visual companions, a magnitude 11.6 star 68 arc seconds away and a magnitude 11.6 arc seconds away.
The traditional name of the star, Homam, means “a lucky star with noble minds” or “a man of great spirit.”
Matar – η Pegasi (Eta Pegasi)
Eta Pegasi is a binary star about 167 light years from the solar system. It has a visual brightness of 2.95 and is the fifth brightest star in the constellation.
Deep sky objects in Pegasus
Messier 15 (M15, NGC 7078)
Messier 15 is a globular cluster approximately 18 arcseconds in size. Its apparent brightness is 6.2 magnitude and is about 33,600 light-years distant. With absolute brightness of -9.2, M15 is 360,000 times brighter than the Sun. The brightest stars in the cluster shine at magnitude 12.6.
The cluster was discovered by the Italian-born astronomer Jean-Dominique Maraldi in 1746 and included in the Charles Messier catalog in 1764.
Messier 15 is a spherical cluster – a spherical conglomerate of old stars that formed together from the same gas cloud found at the outermost extremities of the Milky Way in a region known as the halo and orbiting the Galactic Center. This spherical one is about 35,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus (Flying Horse). Messier 15 is one of the densest globulars known, with the vast majority of the cluster mass concentrated in the nucleus. Astronomers believe that particularly dense spherical ones like this have undergone a process called core collapse, in which the gravitational interactions between the stars have resulted in many members of the cluster migrating towards the center. Messier 15 is also the first globular cluster known to contain a planetary nebula, and is still one of only four known globular clusters.Planetary Nebula.
This image was compiled from images captured with the wide-angle channel of the advanced Hubble research camera. The images were combined through the yellow / orange (F606W, blue) and near-infrared (F814W, red) filters. Total exposure times were 535 s and 615 s, respectively, and the field of view was 3.4 minutes of angle. Photo: ESA / Hubble and NASA
M15 is believed to be 12 billion years old, making it one of the oldest globular clusters known. It contains over 100,000 stars, including a significant number of variables and pulsars, including the double neutron star M15 C.
The cluster is also home to Pease 1, a planetary nebula discovered in 1928. Pease 1 was the first planetary nebula discovered in a globular cluster. The nebula is magnitude 15.5.
Pease 1, photo: NASA
M15 also contains two bright X-ray sources, Messier 15 X-1 and Messier 15 X-2.
Stephan’s Quintet (HCG 92, Arp 319)
Stephan’s Quintet is a group of five galaxies, NGC 7317-7320, first discovered by French astronomer Édouard Stephan at the Marseille Observatory in 1877. They are located approximately 280 million light years from Earth.
Four of the five galaxies were the first compact group of galaxies discovered. The brightest galaxy in the group is NGC 7320, which is only 40 million light-years away. The other four galaxies in the group form a physical association, Hickson Compact Group 92, and will eventually merge.
This drama takes place against a rich backdrop of distant galaxies. Photo: NASA / Hubble Space Telescope
The ring structure in NGC 7742 may be the result of a merger with a small gas-rich dwarf galaxy, and the unusually bright central region and some of the gas rotating in the opposite direction are just some of the features that suggest a suitcase may have happened.
Flying Horse Mythology
Assyrian seal showing a winged horse. Approx. XIV – XIII century BC Source: Museum Met.
Many Greek myths were based on earlier tales from other cultures, such as the story of Hydra which builds on earlier myths of sea monsters. The inspiration behind the story of Pegasus, however, is less clear.
The ancient Assyrians told stories about various creatures that had wings, including winged lions, bulls, and even horses. In Assyrian mythology, winged horses had claws and horns. (After all, the horns could possibly link Pegasus to the unicorn’s ancestry.) However, the Assyrian winged horses were portrayed as more sinister and dangerous compared to the heroic purity of Pegasus.
As proof of its popularity and importance, Pegasus appears in many Greek myths. In addition to the story of his miraculous birth, Pegasus helped both gods and mortals.
Pegasus and Zeus
Like humans, the Greek gods used horses to pull chariots, carrying supplies for battle and more.
While some myths say that Pegasus created thunder and lightning and brought them to Zeus, others say that he simply wore them for the king of the gods. Pegasus’s courage was appreciated by Zeus, who used lightning and lightning when the gods went to war and to keep mortals in check.
Pegasus and the Muses
According to legends, Pegasus and his brother Chrysaor were raised by the Muses on Mount Helicon. The Muses were the goddesses who ruled over art and science. They cared for two young demigods, guiding them into adulthood.
Pegasus and Perseus
As mentioned earlier, when Perseus killed the gorgon Medusa, Pegasus jumped out of her headless neck.
In some versions of the story, Perseus rode on Pegasus’s back after he killed Medusa. On his way home, he stopped on the island of Seriphos to save the beautiful Andromeda from the sea monster that was about to devour her.
However, other versions of the story say that Perseus did not ride Pegasus at all because he already had winged sandals and could fly himself.
Athena and Pegasus. Approx. 1654. Artist: Theodoor van Thulden (1606-1669). Source: Private collection.
Pegasus had a special relationship with Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. According to the story, it was Athena who had the power to tame Pegasus. She led him to live on Mount Olympus, home of gods and goddesses. There he lived in stables with horses that worked for the gods.
The Legend of Bellerophon
The cover of the opera The Bellerophon Tragedy with the participation of Bellerophon and Pegasus fighting the Chimera. Approx. 1714. Source: Royal Conservatory of Antwerp and Brigham Young University.
Pegasus is also known to assist the deadly hero Bellerophon on an important mission.
According to the myth, Bellerophon, who was the son of a king, was sentenced to death after committing murder. Instead of killing him, however, Bellerophon’s father-in-law ordered him to kill the terrifying Chimera, a fire-breathing two-headed monster.
Bellerophon knew he could not defeat the monster on his own. He realized that he would have to attack the fire-breathing monster from above to defeat him. It was the perfect job for a flying horse. Bellerophon knew he needed the help of the mighty Pegasus. The only problem was that he knew he couldn’t just go up to Olympus and ask for help.
Bellerophon prayed for help, and the goddess of wisdom replied. Athena gave Bellerophon a golden bridle to wear Pegasus. When Pegasus saw the bridle, he realized it was at Athena’s request, so he allowed Bellerophon to put it on and climb aboard.
Defeating the Chimera
Even on the back of Pegasus, Bellerophon had trouble killing the Chimera. The beast breathed fire, making it almost impossible to get close enough to kill it.
In order to achieve victory over the monster, Bellerophon was given a finished lead spear, which he managed to throw into the mouth of the Chimera. The lead melted in the Chimera’s fiery mouth, causing it to stop breathing. Thus, he defeated the terrifying beast.