The constellation Aries is situated in between Taurus and Pisces in the skies. Exactly when this was found is unclear. However it was already well known to the Greeks. When they divided the skies, they put the vernal equinox in this constellation.
The vernal equinox has now passed into Pisces. But the equinox is still used by some when denoting the constellation’s location. Aside from Pisces and Taurus, the Cetus, Triangulum and Perseus constellations are nearby. It can be seen at latitudes of plus 90 and minus 60 degrees. In terms of visibility, the best time is winter in December around 9:00 PM.
The Stars in the Constellation Aries
The stars make up the points that give it the ram shape. Alpha Arietis (or Hamal) is the brightest. Scientists have discovered that it is reddish in color. Although it is quite a distance away, it is over 50 times brighter than the Sun. It is also five times
larger, hence its clear visibility.
Gamma Arietis is a double star. You can see it using any binoculars, but you’ll need a telescope to see that it is actually two. The color is blue and it has a magnitude of 4.6. Beta Arietis on the other hand, has a 2.7 magnitude. It is 60 light years away. Much farther away is Lambda Arietis. It is 133 light years distant. It is a binary.
The constellation Aries also has Pi Arietis. It is also a double star with a magnitude of 5. The star beside it has an 8 magnitude and both are bluish white in appearance. It is quite small so distinguishing the two can be hard.
Much easier to see is 30 Arietis. Its magnitude is 6.6 and is yellow. The star nearest it is blue and has a magnitude of 7.4. Even a small telescope will let you see this one. Finally there is 53 Arietis. It’s composed of three stars which are noted for rapid velocities. Theories suggest that the three are material from a supernova.
Other Objects in the Constellation Aries
Some 5.3 arcminutes across is a small galaxy. This can be seen with a telescope (4.5). Studies suggest that it is a spiral galaxy. In addition, there are several meteor showers in the area.
The May Arietids occur around May 4 to June 6. Unlike other meteor showers, this one takes place during the day. There is also the Epsilon Arietids and the Delta Arietids. There are other meteor showers in the area. But they can be difficult to see.
Scientific research has also established that some of its stars have planets. In addition to the meteor showers, several other galaxies have been detected. These include the NGC 772, NGC 972 and NGC 1156. However these are very difficult to see.
The constellation Aries is an intriguing area of the night sky. It’s not as feature rich as some of the others, but there are some fascinating objects there. With more powerful telescopes, more hidden objects might be discovered eventually.