Constellation guide to the 88 official constellations which divide up the sky. These constellations are used to help navigate the celestial sphere. The Constellations are patterns in the sky which have been to invented and have deep mythology behind them. Constellations cover massive areas in the sky and as such are very easy to find.
Some of the constellations have very familiar names, such as Leo, Gemini, Virgo and Aquarius. There are 12 of these constellations and they form the Zodiac. The Zodiac constellations follow the line of the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere.
It is one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy, also mentioned by Eudoxus (4th cent. B.C.) and Aratus (3rd cent. B.C.). 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 Triangle asterism.
Aquila is the name of the eagle which carried the thunderbolts of Zeus and was sent by him to carry the shepherd boy Ganymede who he desired, represented by the neighboring Aquarius, to Mount Olympus where he became the wine-pourer for all the gods.
Ptolemy cataloged nineteen stars jointly in this constellation and in the constellation Antinous, which was named in the reign of the emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), but sometimes, and wrongly, attributed to Tycho Brahe, who cataloged twelve stars in Aquila and seven in Antinous; Hevelius determined twenty-three stars in the first, and nineteen in the second.
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