Encyclopedia > Aquila

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larger map
Meaning in Englishthe Eagle
Right ascension20 h
Visible to latitudeBetween 85° and -75°
On meridian9 p.m., April 15
 - Total
Ranked 22th
652 sq. deg.
Number of stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
Altair (α Aquilae)
Meteor showersLeonids
Bordering constellations

Aquila was one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy. It lies roughly at the celestial equator. The alpha star, Altair, is a vertex of the so-called "Summer Triangle".

Notable features Aquila, which lies in the Milky Way, contains many rich starfields.

Two major novae have been observed in Aquila; the first one was in 389 BC and was recorded to be as bright as Venus, the other shone brighter than Altair.

The variable star η Aquilae is one of the brightest Cepheids; its brightness varies from 4.1 mag to 5.3 mag every 7.2 days. The double star 15 Aquilae is a yellow K star of 5.4 mag accompanied by a 7th mag star; it can easily be observed with small telescopes.

Notable deep-sky objects Two interesting planetary nebulae lies in Aquila: NGC6803 shows a small but bright ring and NGC6781 which bears some resemblance with the Owl Nebula[?] in Ursa Major.

Mythology Aquila is the Latin word meaning eagle. The constellation is said to represent the eagle which, in classical Greek mythology, carried the thunderbolts of Zeus and was sent by him to carry the shepherd boy Ganymede, represented by the neighbouring Aquarius, to Mount Olympus where he became the wine-pourer for all the gods. This explain why the largest moon of Jupiter was called Ganymede, Jupiter being the Roman name of Zeus.

Early civilizations confused the eagle with the vulture and the name of this constellation was also known as Vultur to the Romans. The name Aquila is also the Roman mythological equivalent of Boreas.

In the Chinese love story of Qi Qiao Jie, Niu Lang (Altair) and his two children (Aquila -β and -γ) are separated forever from their mother Zhi Nu (Vega) who is on the far side of the river, the Milky Way.

In biology, Aquila is a genus of birds to which some eagles, particularly the Golden eagle, belong. See eagle.
Aquila is the name of a town in Italy. See Aquila, Italy[?].
Aquila is the name of a man in the Bible. He is the husband of Priscilla[?]. Acts 18:2-3; Acts 18:18-19; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Romans 16:3-5; and 2 Timothy 4:19.

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