Aquarius is the eleventh constellation of the zodiac. It is noted for its meteor showers, the strongest being Delta Aquarids which peaks on July 28. One can see about thirty-five meteors per hour. There is another that peaks around May 5, Eta Aquarids, which displays twenty each hour.
Aquarius contains the Saturn Nebula and the Helix Nebula. Helix is the largest planetary nebula in the sky, but is faint and to see it binoculars are needed.
The Water Bearer is represented by the figure of a man carrying an urn from which water is being poured. It is situated in the zodiac immediately south of the equinoctial and bounded by the Little Horse, Pegasus and Pisces on the north, and the whale on the east.
Like other zodiac constellations, Aquarius was catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.
Right Ascension: 10:27
Diameter (°): 29
Area (square °): 980
Opposition: Aug 28
Size Rank: 10th
Brightness Rank: 32nd
Major stars in Aquarius
Sadalsuud – β Aquarii (Beta Aquarii)
Sadalmelik – α Aquarii (Alpha Aquarii)
Skat – δ Aquarii (Delta Aquarii)
Sadachbia – γ Aquarii (Gamma Aquarii)
Sadaltager – ζ Aquarii (Zeta Aquarii)
Deep Sky Objects in Aquarius
Messier 2 (M2, NGC 7089)
Messier 72 (M72, NGC 6981)
Messier 73 (M73, NGC 6994)
Saturn Nebula (NGC 7009, Caldwell 55)
Helix Nebula (NGC 7293, Caldwell 63)
The Aquarius Dwarf (PGC 65367, DDO 210)
Atoms for Peace Galaxy (NGC 7252)
Mythology of the Constellation Aquarius
This constellation was discovered by Ptolemy in the 2nd century but was known to many others long even before that time. Aquarius constellation is associated with ancient Greece and its mythology. This constellation is the famous Ganymede, a beautiful youth of Phrygia, son of Tros, king of Troy. According to Lucian, he was also the son of Dardanus.
He was taken up to heaven by Jupiter as he was tending his father’s flocks on Mount Ida, and became the cupbearer of the gods, replacing Hebe after she married Hercules. There are various opinions among the ancients regarding the constellation’s origin.
Some suppose it represents Deucalion, who was placed among the stars after the celebrated deluge of Thessaly 1500 years before the birth of Christ. Deucalion was the Noah of the Greeks. Others think it was designed to commemorate Cecrops, who came from Egypt to Greece, and founded Athens, established science and introduced the arts to polished life.
The ancient Egyptians supposed the setting or disappearance of Aquarius caused the Nile to rise when he sank his urn into the water. New Testament Christians in the seventeenth century had John the Baptist and St. Jude Thaddeus the Apostle as the two water jars.
Some liken it to Moses being taken from the waters as an infant. In ancient China it was the symbol of Emperor Tchoun Hin and called Hiven Mao, remembering a great deluge during his reign. In the zodiac of the Hebrews, Aquarius represents the tribe of Reuben. In the Encyclopedia Judaica the tribe of Asher is assigned to Aquarius.
Sun Enters: January 20
Sun Leaves: February 18
Positives: Friendly, willing, reformer, healer, hopeful, intellectual, wise, faithful
Negatives: Tactless, perverse, eccentric, contrary, acting rebellious, serious
As a Child: Opinionated
Emotional: Too trapped
Career: Charity worker