Aquarius is one of the 13 zodiac constellations.
The word ‘Aquarius’ is Latin for cup-bearer or water-carrier.
It’s located between Capricorn and Pisces.
The Aquarius star constellation was first spotted in the 2nd century by the Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemy.
So, it’s one of the oldest documented constellations.
There are many interesting facts regarding the Aquarius constellation.
In today’s article, we’ll tell you all about it, along with a guide on how to identify and locate it in the sky. Let’s dive in.
Aquarius Constellation Facts You Need to Know
The Aquarius constellation is in a part of the sky called ‘The Sea.’
That’s because it’s neighboring other water-related constellations, which are:
- Pisces (the fish)
- Cetus (the whale)
- Delphinus (the dolphin)
- Eridanus (the river)
How to Find the Aquarius Constellation
While Aquarius is the 10th largest constellation, it can be slightly tricky to spot it with the naked eye. That’s because it doesn’t have many bright stars.
So, you’ll need a clear night and a location away from the city lights to be able to spot it.
If you’re unable to spot it, the best thing to do is to look for the brightest star in the region, which is Fomalhaut.
Fomalhaut is a star from the Pisces constellation.
Right above Fomalhaut, you can locate the Aquarius constellation, but that’s not the only way to see it.
If you can locate the Capricornus constellation, you can find the Aquarius constellation to the east of it.
You can also use the Great Square of Pegasus to locate Aquarius.
If your sky is dark enough, you can spot the Y-shaped asterism.
This asterism is part of the Aquarius constellation formed by the stars Alpha Aquarii, Zeta Aquarii, and Gamma Aquarii.
You can see the Aquarius constellation most of the year.
However, it can be barely seen from mid-February to mid-March, as it’s positioned behind the sun in this period.
In the Northern Hemisphere countries, including Canada, France, and the USA, you can spot the Aquarius constellation in the southern sky between October and November.
Aquarius is highest in the sky during this period.
Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere countries, including Australia and New Zealand, you can spot the Aquarius constellation in the northern sky.
However, the position varies according to the time of the year. In some months, you can see it overhead.
If you’re having trouble locating Aquarius, you can try this Pocket Guide to the Night Sky.
There are also some mobile applications that can help you find any constellation.
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While the Aquarius constellation doesn’t have significantly bright starts, the Alpha Aquarri and the Beta Aquarii are luminous enough to be noticeable.
The Beta Aquarii, also known as Sadalsuud, is 600 light-years away.
It has a low magnitude of 2.9.
The name Sadalsuud is originally derived from the Arabic phrase ‘Saa’d Al Soud, ’ which means ‘the luckiest of all lucks.’
On the other hand, the Alpha Aquarii, also known as Sadalmeilk, is a G-type supergiant.
It’s 760 light-years away from Earth and has a magnitude of 2.95.
The name Sadalmelik also originated from an Arabic phrase that means ‘The luck of the king.’
Other stars in the Aquarius constellation include:
- Eta Aquarii
- Phi Aquarii
- Omega-1 Aquarii
- Sigma Aquarii
- Pi Aquarii
The Aquarius constellation contains three Messier objects: Messier 2, Messier 72, and Messier 73.
The Messier 2, also designated as NGC 7089, was discovered in 1746 by the astronomer Jean-Dominique Maraldi.
It’s located five degrees north of Beta Aquarii.
What’s fascinating about the Messier 2 is that it’s one of the largest globular clusters known to man.
It has a diameter of 175 light-years and a radius of 87 light-years.
What’s more impressive is that it’s located around 37,000 light-years away from Earth.
That makes it one of the oldest globular clusters in the Milky Way.
The Messier 72 was designated as NGC 6981.
It was first spotted by the French astronomer Pierre Mechain back in 1780.
The most interesting fact about the Messier 72 is that it’s 168,000 times bigger than our Sun.
It’s also around 9.5 billion years old.
The Messier 73, also known as NGC 6994, is a Y-shaped asterism formed by four stars.
The four stars might appear close to each other when you spot them in the sky.
That’s not because they’re close to each other; it’s because they’re located in the same line of sight when you see them from Earth.
There are around 12 stars in the Aquarius constellation that are a part of planetary systems.
One of these stars is the Trappist-1.
Back in 1999, John Gizis and his colleagues discovered the star that was later designated as Trappist-1.
In 2016, scientists discovered three planets around this star.
Later in 2017, NASA announced that there were seven planets around Trappist-1.
Three of these planets are in the theoretical habitable zone of humans.
They most likely contain water. That makes these planets perfect for habitability studies.
It also means there might be a chance there’s a form of life on that planet.
Think about that when you spot Trappist-1 in the sky!
The NGC 7727 is one of the visible galaxies in the Aquarius constellation.
However, it’s not visible to the naked eye. You’ll need a telescope to see it.
The NGC 7727 is a spiral galaxy.
It’s located around 67 million light-years away from the Milky Way.
The Aquarius constellation is located between Capricornus and Pisces.
It’s a big constellation. However, you can’t easily spot it with the naked eye.
So, you’ll need to try to spot it on a dark night away from light pollution.
That’s because Aquarius doesn’t particularly have a bright star that you can identify it with.
If you’re in the US, you can best spot Aquarius in the southern sky between October and November.
We hope you enjoy the amazing view!
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