Aquarius is one of the 13 zodiac constellations known to man, and is symbolized by the water carrier or the water bearer. The sun passes through this constellation from mid February to mid March.
It is visible between the latitudes +65 degrees and -90 degrees in the northern hemisphere. The Pisces and the Cetus are the neighboring constellations of Aquarius. This constellation is of specific importance as it is the oldest constellation known to man. Its references and information can be found in the works of Ptolemy. The autumn or the month of October is considered as the best time in the year to view this constellation. The prominent stars in the constellation Aquarius are Alpha Aquarii, Beta Aquarii, Gamma Aquarii, R Aquarii, and Zeta Aquarii. The Saturn Nebula is one of the biggest planetary nebula observed in the sky. When viewed with a telescope, it can be clearly seen to resemble Saturn.
It is difficult to view the constellation of Aquarius with your naked eye as it is very faint. It can only be viewed with a powerful horoscope. If you wish to view this constellation in the sky, locate any of the bright stars in it. Then you can join them in imaginary lines, which can resemble a water bearer or a slanted 'Y'.
The water bearer represented by Aquarius is Ganymede, a Phrygian or Trojan youth. According to the Greek mythology, Ganymede was the most beautiful youth on the Earth. He was the son of Tros, the king of troy. According to the story, once Zeus, the king of Greek Gods, spotted Ganymede while the latter was attending to his father's flocks (according to some myths, the Zeus is replaced by Jupiter, the king of Roman Gods.) When Zeus saw the beautiful and handsome youth, he became enchanted with his looks. Therefore, he took the form of a bird and whisked the youth away, towards heaven. Zeus didn't want this beautiful youth to remain a mere mortal, and hence, took him to heaven and immortalized him. From then on, Ganymede became water bearer to the Gods in the heaven.
On the other hand, according to some myths, Aquarius represents great flood as it is located among other water constellations like the Pisces and the Capricorn. Also, the time in which this constellation is viewed coincides with the rainy season, and hence, it is symbolized by the water bearer or the water carrier. The water bearer is also believed to be the one who provided water to the farmlands in Egypt. However, in spite of different myths and tales, the one mentioned above (related to the Greek mythology) is the most popular and widely accepted one.
- Abbreviation: Aqr
- Genitive: Aquarii
- Area occupied in sky: 980 square degrees
- Nearest star: EZ Aquarii (11.3 light years away)
- Brightest star: Beta Aquarii (magnitude of 2.90)
- Largest star: The Alpha Aquarii
- Other prominent deep sky objects: Messier 2, Messier 72, Messier 73