- Aquila (constellation)
name = Aquila
abbreviation = Aql
genitive = Aquilae
symbology = the
RA = 20
areatotal = 652
arearank = 22nd
numbermainstars = 8
numberbfstars = 65
numberstarsplanets = 4
numberbrightstars = 3
numbernearbystars = 3
starmagnitude = 0.77
stardistance = 16.72
numbermessierobjects = 0
latmax = 85
latmin = 75
month = August
Aquila (pron-en|ˈækwɨlə or IPAlink-en|əˈkwɪlə, _la.
eagle; sometimes named the "Vulture"), is one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy, also mentioned by Eudoxus (4th century BC) and Aratus(3rd century BC) and now also part of the list of 88 constellations acknowledged by the IAU. It lies roughly at the celestial equator. The alpha star, Altair, is a vertex of the Summer Triangleasterism.
Ptolemy catalogued nineteen stars jointly in this constellation and in the constellation Antinous, which was named in the reign of the emperor
Hadrian(AD 117–138), but sometimes, and wrongly, attributed to Tycho Brahe, who catalogued twelve stars in Aquila and seven in Antinous; Hevelius determined twenty-three stars in the first, and nineteen in the second. NASA's Pioneer 11mission, which flew by Jupiterand Saturn(in 1974 and 1979 respectively) will pass near one of the stars in the constellation in about four million years.
Aquila, which lies in the
Milky Way, contains many rich starfields.
*α Aql (
Altair): this multiple star system (3 components) has 0.77m and is of spectral type A7 V. It has a parallaxof 0.23", and consequently is about eight times as bright as the Sun.
*β Aql (
Alshain): its spectral type is G8 IV and it shines with an apparent brightness of 3.71m. Like Altair, it too is a multiple star system with three components.
*γ Aql (
Tarazed): spectral type K3 II; 2.72m
*η Aql: This short-period
variable staris one of the brightest classical Cepheids; its brightness varies between 3.48 mag and 4.39 mag every 7.177 days.
*15 Aql: This
double staris a yellow K star of 5.4 mag accompanied by a 7th mag star; it can easily be observed with small telescopes.
*ρ Aql moved across the border into neighboring
Notable deep-sky objects
planetary nebulae lie in Aquila:
NGC 6804shows a small but bright ring
NGC 6781which bears some resemblance with the Owl Nebulain Ursa Major.
NGC 6751: also known as the Glowing Eye, a planetary nebulaMore deep-sky objects:
NGC 6709: an open clusterof 6.7m located five degrees southwest of Zeta Aquilae
NGC 6755: an open clusterof 7.5m; it is made up of about a dozen stars with magnitudes 12 thru 13
NGC 6760: a globular clusterof 9.1m
NGC 6749: an open cluster
NGC 6778: planetary nebula
NGC 6741: planetary nebula
NGC 6772: planetary nebula
novae have been observed in Aquila; the first one was in 389 BCand was recorded to be as bright as Venus, the other (Nova Aquilae 1918) briefly shone brighter than Altair, the brightest star in Aquila.Depicted as an eagle, Aquila is named for the bird that belonged to Zeus. Aquila's most famous task was carrying the mortal Ganymede to the heavens to serve as Zeus' cup bearer.
The constellation resembles a wide winged, soaring, short necked, bird, which the ancients identified as an eagle [http://borghetto.astrofili.org/costellazioni/aquila.jpg] . In classical
Greek mythology, it was identified as the eagle which carried the thunderbolts of Zeusand was sent by him to carry the shepherd boy Ganymede who he desired, represented by the neighbouring Aquarius, to Mount Olympus where he became the wine-pourer for all the gods. This explains why the largest moon of Jupiter was called Ganymede, Jupiter being the Roman name of Zeus. The eagle was used to carry or retrieve the lightning bolts that were thrown by Zeus.
This constellation was also known as "Vultur volans" to the Romans, not to be confused with "Vultur cadens" which was the Romans' name for what is now known as
Aquila, together with other constellations in the
Zodiacsign of Sagittarius (specifically, Lyra, Cygnus), may be a significant part of the origin of the myth of the Stymphalian birds, one of The Twelve Laboursof Herakles. The constellation could also have originated from the eagle Ethon, the tormentor of Prometheus, and offspring of the monsters Typhonand Echidna.
In the Chinese love story of
Qi Xi, Niu Lang ( Altair) and his two children (β and γ Aquilae) are separated forever from their wife and mother Zhi Nu ( Vega) who is on the far side of the river, the Milky Way.
Hinduism, the constellation Aquila is identified with the half eagle, half human deity, Garuda.
*Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). "Stars and Planets Guide", Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.
* [http://www.nightskyinfo.com/constellations/aquila/ NightSkyInfo.com: Constellation Aquila]
* [http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/aquila.htm Star Tales – Aquila]
* [http://www.allthesky.com/constellations/aquila/ The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Aquila]
* [http://www.wikisky.org/?object=Aquila&zoom=2 WIKISKY.ORG: Aquila constellation]
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