Aquarius, The Water Carrier

Published on March 29, 2019

Star maps show Aquarius as a young man pouring water from a jar or amphora, although Ovid, in his Fasti, says the liquid is a mixture of water and nectar, the drink of the gods. The water jar is marked by a Y-shaped asterism of four stars centred on Zeta Aquarii, and the stream ends in the mouth of the Southern Fish, Piscis Austrinus.

The constellation name means The Water Carrier . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

Aquarius can only be viewed in the fourth quadrant of the Southern hemisphere. It takes up 980 square degrees and is located specifically at latitudes between +65° and -90°. It also contains three Messiers, along with four meteor showers.

AQUARIUS’ STARS

Ross 780, Aquarius's Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is Ross 780 which is roughly about 15.29 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HIP 113020 which is about 15.29 Light Years.

SX Aquarii, Aquarius's Farthest Star

The farthest star that is located in the constellation is SX Aquarii and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

Sadalsuud, Brightest Star in Aquarius

The brightest star in Aquarius is Sadalsuud and is located about 19.80 light years from the Sun. The star has an apparent magnitude of 2.9 but an absolute magnitude of -3.18 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is only recognised as being Beta Aquarii rather than having Alpha status.

4 Aquarii, Aquarius's Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Aquarius with the naked eye is 4 Aquarii. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.99. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference.

Trappist-1

Trappist-1 is a small insignificant star in the constellation of Aquarius. With an apparent magnitude of 18.80, you need a telescope of at 18 inches to see it. What makes this star stand out is that it has one of the largest planetary solar systems so far discovered.

The Brightest Star Is Sadalsuud

Sadalsuud is the brightest star in Aquarius. It is sometimes referred to as Lucida Fortunae Fortunarum, which is Latin for the "brightest luck of lucks." The fixed star Sadalsuud is associated with the spring and the good fortune brought by the sun when it rises after winter has passed. Its mass is six times that of our Earth's sun, and it is 2,200 times more luminous.

THE GREEK MYTHOLOGY OF AQUARIUS

The most popular identification is that he is Ganymede or Ganymedes, said to have been the most beautiful boy alive. He was the son of King Tros, who gave Troy its name. One day, while Ganymede was watching over his father’s sheep, Zeus became infatuated with the shepherd boy and swooped down on the Trojan plain in the form of an eagle, carrying Ganymede up to Olympus. The eagle is commemorated in the neighbouring constellation of Aquila. As compensation for spiriting away his son, Zeus presented King Tros with a pair of fine horses, although some writers said the gift was a golden vine.

In another version of the myth, Ganymede was fought over by two rival admirers: he was first carried off by Eos, goddess of the dawn, who had a passion for young men, but was then stolen from her by omnipotent Zeus.

Either way, Ganymede became wine-waiter to the gods of Olympus, dispensing nectar from his bowl, to the annoyance of Zeus’s wife Hera. Robert Graves tells us that this myth became highly popular in ancient Greece and Rome where it was regarded as signifying divine endorsement for homosexuality. The Latin translation of the name Ganymede, Catamitus, gave rise to the word catamite.

In the Greek myth of Deucalion and his wife is very similar to the Judeo-Christian legend of Noah's Ark. Humanity had grown cruel, vicious, and savage, and Zeus, despairing for humankind, sent a great flood upon the earth. The only two people who survived were Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, who Zeus considered the last godly people on earth. After the flood, Zeus helped Deucalion and Pyrrha create a new and wiser race of men. Deucalion is known as the Water Bearer because he brought life to a new generation.

THE WATER SYMBOL

Aquarius is derived from the Latin aqua - water.

  • The two wavy lines that are the glyph for Aquarius are the Egyptian Hieroglyphic for water.

  • The waves symbolize water rippling in the wind (air) and indicates Aquarius is the disseminator of knowledge.

  • The water flowing from the jug is symbolic of Aquarius pouring collective knowledge onto all of humanity and spreading enlightenment.

  • In Babylon, Aquarius was the water god who brought the annual rains, at the time the sun was passing through the Aquarius constellation.

  • Aquarius was also a water god in Egypt, where he was believed to provide the annual flood waters to the Nile to help the parched farmlands.

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