Aquarius, the Cup-Bearer in the Sky
Found between Pisces and Capricornus, Aquarius is a constellation of the zodiac and means cup-bearer or water-bearer in Latin. Its symbol is a Unicode, which is simply a representation of the element of water. The zodiac stands for the sun’s direct apparent path. Moreover, Aquarius is considered to be one of the oldest constellations and is located in the region commonly called the “Sea” because of the constellations surrounding it that are associated to water such as “Eridanus The River”, “Pisces The Fish” and “Cetus The Whale.
Saturn Nebula and Helix Nebula, two popular planetary nebulae can be found in the constellation of Aquarius. Basically, the constellation of Aquarius traces a figure of a man. However, when fainter stars are included, the image changes to a man pouring a bucket of water. If you connect the stars in the constellation of Aquarius, you will be able to form a man running while carrying a vessel where water is spilling out. Based on the Babylonian star catalogs, the Aquarius constellation is named after “The Great One” and is considered to embody the God, Ea. The winter solstice was also a part of the Early Bronze Age, which was the time Ea ruled. Ea ruled the southernmost quarter of the sun’s path and this was called “The Way of the Ea” which corresponded to the forty-five days on each side of winter solstice.
For the Greeks, the Aquarius constellation depicted a vase streaming with water into Piscis Austrinus. On the other hand, for the Hindus, it translates to the word, “kumbha” which means “water-pitcher”, signifying how the zodiac reached all the way to India. Oftentimes, associations have also been made to Ganymede, who Zeus fell in love with and became a cup-bearer to the many gods in Olympus after disguising as an eagle. The cup in the constellation of Aquarius is another constellation called “Crater.” When the earth was submerged due to massive floods in the Great Flood Myth in Greek literature, Aquarius was deemed responsible for the catastrophe. Aquarius was also believed to have poured the constellation, Eridanus, which is a river. Moreover, Aquarius and Pegasus were also part of the myth of Mares of Diomedes which falls under The Twelve Labors of Heracles.
The constellation of Aquarius consists of several distinct stars. One would be the Alpha Aquarii or Sadalmelik, which has a diameter one hundred times bigger than the Sun. shining at a magnitude of 2.95, it is seven hundred sixty light years away from the earth. The second distinct star is called the Beta Aquarii or Sadalsund, which is considered to be the brightest star in the Aquarius constellation. It is six hundred light years away from the earth and shines at a magnitude of 2.9. And the last distinct star is called the Gamma Aquarii or Sadachbia, which has an approximate luminosity of twenty-five suns. It is one hundred fifty eight light years away from the earth, shining at a magnitude of 3.8.