Little Guys

StarDate logo
Little Guys

Three tiny constellations are stacked up in the eastern evening sky this month: the arrow, the dolphin, and the little horse. There’s not a single bright star among them. But under moderately dark skies, at least one of them is pretty easy to make out.

The arrow is at the top of the stack. It’s the third-smallest of the 88 modern constellations. In ancient times, it represented a weapon used by Hercules, but there were different takes on his target. All of its stars are faint, but under especially dark skies, it does look like an arrow, aiming toward the left. It’s between two bright stars: Altair, to its lower right, and Deneb, to the upper left.

The most prominent of the three figures is the dolphin, which is below the arrow. Its five brightest stars outline the dolphin’s form. It, too, has more than one myth. One of them said the dolphin rescued a rich poet and musician. The man had jumped into the sea after he was threatened by the crew of the ship in which he was sailing.

Finally, there’s the little horse. It’s the second-smallest constellation, and it’s quite faint. And it’s not even a complete horse – it’s depicted only as a horse’s head. One of its Greek stories said it was the brother or son of the winged horse Pegasus, which rises below it.

If your skies are nice and dark, look for these tiny constellations beginning at nightfall, and rolling across the south during the night.

Script by Damond Benningfield

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top