International Star Registry

All Constellations

Aquarius - Water Bearer

Aquarius is the eleventh constellation of the zodiac. It is noted for its meteor showers, the strongest being Delta Aquarids on July 28. One can see about thirty-five meteors per hour. There is another on 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.

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 akin 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, commemorating 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.
Right Ascension 10:27
Diameter (°)29
Area (square °)980
Opposition Aug 28
Size Rank 10th
Brightness Rank 32nd