Al Rischa (Alpha Piscium) -- Double Star in Pisces
A Knot in the Rope Binding the Fish
From the suburban skies over my house the constellation Pisces rests between
Andromeda and the Sea Monster (Cetus), but when I stare at that section of the sky,
I cannot see it. There are no bright stars in the constellation. Its alpha star Al Rischa
is just visible on the best of nights from the deck at the house, but most of the other
stars in the constellation are too dim for me to make out. The constellation Pisces,
as seen under a dark sky, consists of two fish bound together by a rope (fishing line?).
Al Rischa, based on its Arabic name, represents a knot in the rope between the two
Alpha Piscium (Al Rischa) may not be impressive to the human eye, but through a
good quality telescope it is an attractive double consisting of two bluish-white stars –
at least that is the color I see them as. With a separation of only 1.8 arcseconds, one
needs to add some magnification in order to separate them. Some data suggests
that both stars may have an additional spectroscopic smaller companion star not
visible in a telescope. If this proves to be the case, then Al Rischa is a four-star system.
Through the 6-inch refractor at 312x the pair shine together like blue-diamonds on black