Piscis Austrinus – the southern fish

November 27, 2016


zatarainsThe autumn sky includes the constellation of Piscis Austrinus, which is currently distinguished from neighboring Pisces Not-Austrinus with the convenient moniker Austrinus which means “Southern.” At one time many folks referred to these stars as being “The Great Fish” as opposed to being a “Not-So-Great Fish” I guess.

The stars of Piscis Austrinus are pretty easy to find. Just look below and to the right of the more familiar fishes of zodiac fame, which are easy to find because they are above and to the left of Fomalhaut, a bright star below and to the right, in the upper left part of Piscis Austrinus.
The most noticeable thing here is “lonely” Fomalhaut, a bright star which seems to have wandered off by itself, in that there are no other bright stars anywhere nearby. The word is ancient Arabic and it means “fish-mouth.” The old-timey maps show this constellation as a fish with a big mouth drinking water from a jar which you have to admit is pretty weird. What’s that about? Good luck figuring all that out.

greatfishyHere’s the back-story on Piscis Austrinus. Derceto is a Syrian goddess of fertility and one day she fell (some say jumped) into a lake. A great fish saved her from drowning. The story sounds a lot like the much newer story about Jonah and the Whale, which you may recall does not actually refer to a whale in the Bible at all, but to a “great fish.”

There are quite a few variations of the story that developed over time and they all sound fishy to me. Anyway Derceto is saved and goes on to have a daughter who becomes queen and outlaws the eating of fish. To this day there is still a temple based on the story. It has ponds full of fish and you are not allowed to eat them.
Brad gets fish and chips and peas.
The first time I went to London I went straight to a pub and ordered fish and chips. It came with a side of mashed peas. Everything in London comes with mashed peas. The fish still had the head on it which would be okay if it were baked or broiled or something but batter-dipped? That’s kind of weird. The chips were good, just steak fries essentially but lawdy sonuva jebus almighty, do you have to mash the peas?

Carpe Noctem

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