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Aquarius

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Aquarius is a constellation in the southern sky. It is part of the zodiac, the apparent path of the sun along the celestial sphere.


Aquarius
Latin name Aquarius
Latin genitive Aquarii
International abbreviation Aqr
Number of stars 276
Symbology Cup-bearer


Named stars

There are several named stars within Aquarius. The two brightest being α Aqr. or Sadalmelik and β Aqr. or Sadalsuud, both around magnitude +2.9. Other named stars include γ Aqr. (Sadalachbia), δ Aqr. (Skat) and ε Aqr. (Albali).[1]

Remarkable objects

Aquarius contains three deep-sky objects that are on the list of comet-like "nebulae" catalogued by the French comet hunter Charles Messier. They are the globular clusters NGC 7089 (Messier 2) and NGC 6981 (Messier 72) and the asterism known as NGC 6994 (Messier 73) which was mistakenly regarded as a small open cluster with nebulosity by Messier.

Two well studied planetary nebulae are also within this constellation. NGC 7009 is also known as the Saturn Nebula while NGC 7293 has received the common name Helix Nebula.

History and mythology

Aquarius is sometimes regarded as being Ganymede, the youth who was carried to Mt. Olympus by Zeus to be the cup bearer to the gods. The figure is usually depicted as being Ganymede pouring water from a cup. This stream of water is sometimes depicted as being the river Eridanus, represented by the constellation of the same name.

References

  1. Bright Star Catalogue, 5th revised edition, 1991



88 Official Constellations by IAU

AndromedaAntliaApusAquariusAquilaAraAriesAurigaBoötesCaelumCamelopardalisCancerCanes VenaticiCanis MajorCanis MinorCapricornusCarinaCassiopeiaCentaurusCepheusCetusChamaeleonCircinusColumbaComa BerenicesCorona AustralisCorona BorealisCorvusCraterCruxCygnusDelphinusDoradoDracoEquuleusEridanusFornaxGeminiGrusHerculesHorologiumHydraHydrusIndusLacertaLeoLeo MinorLepusLibraLupusLynxLyraMensaMicroscopiumMonocerosMuscaNormaOctansOphiuchusOrionPavoPegasusPerseusPhoenixPictorPiscesPiscis AustrinusPuppisPyxisReticulumSagittaSagittariusScorpiusSculptorScutumSerpensSextansTaurusTelescopiumTriangulumTriangulum AustraleTucanaUrsa MajorUrsa MinorVelaVirgoVolansVulpecula