Aquarius, the Waterbearer. If you look closely, you may see what looks like a boy dangling down from the sky.
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Windows to the Universe original image
Aquarius is a member of the Zodiac, a group of constellations that the Sun travels through each year. It is best viewed in the fall in the southern sky, although much of the northern hemisphere can see the Waterbearer in the spring. Aquarius is one of the oldest constellations in the sky.
In Greek myth, Aquarius was Ganymede, the young boy kidnapped by Zeus. Zeus sent his eagle, Aquila, to snatch Ganymede out of the fields where the boy was watching over his sheep. Ganymede would become the cupbearer for the Olympian gods. The constellation, Crater, is often thought to be Ganymede's cup.
The Sumerians also believed that Aquarius brought on a sort of global flood. Also, many of the stars that make up Aquarius have names that refer to good luck. This is most likely due to the time of year when the Sun would rise in Aquarius. It happened to be at the same time when the rainy season began in the Middle East.
You have to use some imagination to see a figure of a boy in the sky. Look at the constellation in the same position as the one pictured. The head is on the right end. Moving left, you can see what could be an arm dangling down. Continue left more, and you come to the lower half of the body. Notice the legs are bent. This may represent the position of Ganymede while being carried by Aquila to Mount Olympus.
There are three globular clusters in Aquarius that may be viewed through a small telescope. The planetary nebula, named the Saturn Nebula, is also in the Waterbearer.. It is so named because it looks like the planet Saturn when viewed through a telescope. The closest and brightest planetary nebula is the Helix Nebula, located directly east of the "foot".
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