Aquarius (constellation)

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Aquarius
Constellation
Aquarius
List of stars in Aquarius
AbbreviationAqr
GenitiveAquarii
Pronunciation/əˈkwɛəriəs/, genitive /əˈkwɛəri/
Symbolismthe Water-Bearer[1]
Right ascension23 h
Declination−15°
QuadrantSQ4
Area980[2][1] sq. deg. (10thUNIQ1e813ae32f46311c-nowiki-0000000A-QINU2UNIQ1e813ae32f46311c-nowiki-0000000B-QINU)
Main stars10, 22
Bayer/Flamsteed
stars
97
Stars with planets11
Stars brighter than 3.00m2[2]
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly)7
Brightest starβ Aqr (Sadalsuud) (2.91[2]m)
Nearest starEZ Aqr
(11.27 ly, 3.45 pc)
Messier objects3
Meteor showersMarch Aquariids
Eta Aquariids[3]
Delta Aquariids[3]
Iota Aquariids[3]
Bordering
constellations
Pisces
Pegasus
Equuleus
Delphinus
Aquila
Capricornus
Piscis Austrinus
Sculptor
Cetus[2]
Visible at latitudes between +65° and −90°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of October.
 
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Aquarius
Constellation
Aquarius
List of stars in Aquarius
AbbreviationAqr
GenitiveAquarii
Pronunciation/əˈkwɛəriəs/, genitive /əˈkwɛəri/
Symbolismthe Water-Bearer[1]
Right ascension23 h
Declination−15°
QuadrantSQ4
Area980[2][1] sq. deg. (10thUNIQ1e813ae32f46311c-nowiki-0000000A-QINU2UNIQ1e813ae32f46311c-nowiki-0000000B-QINU)
Main stars10, 22
Bayer/Flamsteed
stars
97
Stars with planets11
Stars brighter than 3.00m2[2]
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly)7
Brightest starβ Aqr (Sadalsuud) (2.91[2]m)
Nearest starEZ Aqr
(11.27 ly, 3.45 pc)
Messier objects3
Meteor showersMarch Aquariids
Eta Aquariids[3]
Delta Aquariids[3]
Iota Aquariids[3]
Bordering
constellations
Pisces
Pegasus
Equuleus
Delphinus
Aquila
Capricornus
Piscis Austrinus
Sculptor
Cetus[2]
Visible at latitudes between +65° and −90°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of October.

Aquarius (play /əˈkwɛəriəs/) is a constellation of the zodiac, situated between Capricornus and Pisces. Its name is Latin for "water-carrier" or "cup-carrier", and its symbol is Aquarius.svg (Unicode ♒), a representation of water.

Aquarius is one of the oldest of the recognized constellations along the zodiac (the sun's apparent path).[4] It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century AD astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations. It is found in a region often called the Sea due to its profusion of constellations with watery associations such as Cetus the whale, Pisces the fish and Eridanus the river.[2]

Contents

History and mythology

Aquarius is identified as GU.LA "The Great One" in the Babylonian star catalogues and represents the god Ea himself, who is commonly depicted holding an overflowing vase. The Babylonian star-figure appears on entitlement stones and cylinder seals from the second millennium. It contained the winter solstice in the Early Bronze Age.[5] In Old Babylonian astronomy, Ea was the ruler of the southernmost quarter of the Sun's path, the "Way of Ea", corresponding to the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice. Aquarius was also associated with the destructive floods that the Babylonians regularly experienced, and thus was negatively connoted.[2] In Ancient Egypt, Aquarius was associated with the annual flood of the Nile; the banks were said to flood when Aquarius put his jar into the river, beginning spring.[6]

In the Greek tradition, the constellation became represented as simply a single vase from which a stream poured down to Piscis Austrinus. The name in the Hindu zodiac is likewise kumbha "water-pitcher", showing that the zodiac reached India via Greek intermediaries.[4]

In Greek mythology, Aquarius is sometimes associated with Deucalion, the figure who built a ship with his wife Pyrrha to survive an imminent flood. They sailed for nine days before washing ashore on Mount Parnassus.[2] Aquarius is also sometimes identified with Ganymede, a youth in Greek mythology who was taken to Mount Olympus by Zeus to act as cup-carrier to the gods.[1][3]

In non-Western astronomy

In Chinese astronomy, the stream of water flowing from the Water Jar was depicted as the "Army of Yu-Lin" (Yu-lin-kiun). The name "Yu-lin" means "feathers and forests", referring to the numerous light-footed soldiers represented by these faint stars. 88, 89, and 98 Aquarii represent Fou-youe, the axes used as weapons and for hostage executions. Also in Aquarius is Loui-pi-tchin, the ramparts that stretch from 29 and 27 Piscium and 33 and 30 Aquarii through Phi, Lambda, Sigma, and Iota Aquarii to Delta, Gamma, Kappa, and Epsilon Capricorni.[6]

Notable features

The constellation Aquarius as it can be seen by the naked eye. AlltheSky.com
Aquarius (left) and Capricornus (right). The brightest object in the picture is Jupiter.

Stars and planetary systems

Despite both its prominent position on the zodiac and its large size, Aquarius has no particularly bright stars, with its 4 brightest stars less than magnitude 2.[1] However, recent research has shown that there are several stars lying within its borders that possess planetary systems.

Deep sky objects

Because of its position away from the galactic plane, the majority of deep-sky objects in Aquarius are galaxies, globular clusters, and planetary nebulae.[2] Aquarius contains three deep sky objects that are in the Messier catalog: the globular clusters Messier 2, Messier 72, and the open cluster Messier 73. Two well-known planetary nebulae are also located in Aquarius: the Saturn Nebula (NGC 7009), to the eastwest of μ Aquarii; and the famous Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), southwest of δ Aquarii.

Meteor showers

There are three major meteor showers with radiants in Aquarius: the Eta Aquariids, the Delta Aquariids, and the Iota Aquariids.

Illustrations

Aquarius pours water from a jar into the mouth of the southern fish, as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825

In illustrations, the brightest stars of Aquarius are represented as the figure of a man, while the fainter naked eye stars are represented as a vessel from which is pouring a stream of water. The water flows southwards into the mouth of the southern fish, Piscis Austrinus.


Equivalents

In Chinese astronomy, the stars of the constellation Aquarius are part of the The Black Tortoise of the North (北方玄武, Běi Fāng Xuán Wǔ).[citation needed]

Namesakes

USS Aquarius (AKA-16), was a United States Navy ship named after the constellation.

Astrology

As of 2002, the Sun appears in the constellation Aquarius from 16 February to 11 March. In tropical astrology, the Sun is considered to be in the sign Aquarius from 20 January to 19 February, and in sidereal astrology, from 15 February to 14 March.

Aquarius is also associated with the Age of Aquarius, a concept popular in 1960s counterculture. Despite this prominence, the Age of Aquarius will not dawn until the year 2597, as an astrological age does not begin until the Sun is in a particular constellation on the vernal equinox.[2][3]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Moore 2000
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Thompson & Thompson 2007
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Ridpath 2001
  4. ^ a b Rogers, John H. (1998). "Origins of the ancient contellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions". Journal of the British Astronomical Association 108: 9–28. Bibcode 1998JBAA..108....9R. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1998JBAA..108....9R. 
  5. ^ Thurston 1996
  6. ^ a b c d e Staal 1988, pp. 42-44
  7. ^ a b c d Moore & Tirion 1997
  8. ^ "Sadalmelik". SIMBAD. http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?submit=display&bibdisplay=refsum&bibyear1=2010&bibyear2=%24currentYear&Ident=%401362859&Name=NAME+SADALMELIK#lab_bib. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "bet Aqr". SIMBAD. http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?Ident=beta+aquarii&NbIdent=1&Radius=2&Radius.unit=arcmin&submit=submit+id. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "gam Aqr". SIMBAD. http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?ident=gamma+aquarii&NbIdent=1&Radius=2&Radius.unit=arcmin&submit=submit+id. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "A Planet for Gliese 876". Astronomy Picture of the Day. 26 June 1998. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap980626.html. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Notes for star Gliese 876". The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. http://exoplanet.eu/star.php?st=Gliese+876. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "Notes for star 91 Aqr". The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. http://exoplanet.eu/star.php?st=91+Aqr. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Notes for star Gj 849". The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. http://exoplanet.eu/star.php?st=Gj+849. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Levy 2005, pp. 133-134.
  16. ^ Levy 2005, p. 132.
  17. ^ Levy 2005, p. 131.

References

Attribution

External links

Coordinates: Sky map 23h 00m 00s, −15° 00′ 00″