- slide 1 of 3
Facts about the Constellation Aquarius
2. Right ascension: 23 h
3. Declination: -15 degrees
4. Latitudes visible at: between +65 degrees and -90 degrees
5. The best time to view: 21:00 p.m. in the month of October
6. Area of sky: 980 square degrees
7. Nearest star: EZ Aquarii, 11.3 light years away.
8. Brightest star: Beta Aquarii (magnitude of 2.90)
9. Aquarius’ Position in the Zodiac: Eleventh position
10. Stars in the constellation: Notable stars in constellation Aquarius are Alpha Aquarii (Arabic: Sadalmelik), Beta Aquarii (Arabic: Sadalsund), Gamma Aquarii (Arabic: Sadachbia), R Aquarii and Zeta Aquarii.
11. Other objects in the constellation: Notable deep sky objects in Aquarius are Messier 2, Messier 73, and Messier 72. M2 is a bright globular cluster that can be easily viewed with the naked eye on a bright sky. M72 is a faint spherical cluster which cannot be viewed by average telescopes. M73 is a small cluster of stars composed of four stars and can be viewed with a small telescope. The Saturn Nebula and the Helix Nebula are two well-known planetary nebulae located in constellation Aquarius.
12: Meteor showers: Eta Aquarids (April 21 to May 12 with a maximum of up to 20 meteor showers per hour on May 5), March Aquarids, Delta Aquarids (July 14 to August 18, maximum meteor showers occur on July 29th) Southern Iota Aquarids (July 1 to September 18) Northern Iota Aquarids (August 11 to September 10)
13. Mythology: Aquarius was known as the God of the Waters to the Egyptians, Greeks and others who experienced dry climates in their regions. In Greek mythology Aquarius is also identified as Ganymede who was carried off by Zeus disguised as an Eagle. He was carried off to Olympus to be the cup-bearer to the Olympian gods. According to ancient Sumerians, Aquarius was a wicked god who brought global floods.
14. Historical importance: Aquarius is one of the oldest constellations. As a water-carrier, his fame goes back to the Babylonian empire where his image was carved in stones. Vital information about Aquarius was always included in the ancient star catalogs of Ptolemy, Aratos of Soli, and Eudoxos of Knidos.
15. Astrological perspective of constellation Aquarius: Aquarius is one of the oldest constellations in the Zodiac. Astrologers in the tropical regions believe that the 20th century is the Age of Aquarius while majority of astrologers think we will enter the Aquarian age in the 22nd century. It would be interesting to know that each age is approximately 2200 years long.
- slide 2 of 3
[This photo of the constellation Aquarius shows, enlarged in their true color, the main "naked eye" stars that make up the shape of the constellation. Image courtesy of http://www.scienceandart.com ]
[Image, right: Aquarius, the water bearer, a mythical Greek God. Also known as Ganymede. Image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aqr_bode.jpg.]
- slide 3 of 3
Other Significant Facts
Here are some of the key facts about the constellation Aquarius:
1. The Saturn Nebula (NGC 7009) in the constellation Aquarius was first observed by Sir William Herschel in 1782. It is one of the brightest planetary nebula that resembles the shape of the planet Saturn, when viewed with a powerful telescope.
2. The first planetary system found around the red dwarf star in the constellation is Gliese 876. This planetary system consists of three planets. One of the planets is 8 times the mass of planet Earth.
3. The Alpha Aquarii (Sadalmelik) is a giant star in the Aquarian constellation. Its diameter is 100 times that of the sun.
[ Above, left: A constellation map of Aquarius photo courtesy: Torsten Bronger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aquarius_constellation_map.png)]
- "Aquarius." http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/the_universe/Constellations/aquarius.html
- Aquarius Constellation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquarius_(constellation)
- Aquarius. Night Sky Info, http://www.nightskyinfo.com/constellations/aquarius/
- "Constellation Aquarius: Mythology and History." http://coldwater.k12.mi.us/lms/planetarium/myth/aquarius.html