Star Names:

Aquila


Map of The Constellation of Aquila
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Aquila, or the Eagle, is a constellation that lies in the equatorial region. It is one of the 48 constellation documented by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. The Romans called the constellation "Vultur Volans," which means "the flying vulture." Aquila is identified with the Greek myth of the battle between the Olympian gods and the Titans, in which the eagle carried Zeus' thunderbolts that helped defeat the Titans. Once victorious, Zeus kept the eagle at his side at all times. When the gods needed a new poll bearer, it was the eagle that was sent to find the most beautiful youth in the land. The celestial eagle contains a straight line of three stars for wings, with the brightest star, [435] Altair at the centre. In Indian tradition, the three stars are revered as the footprints of the god Vishnu.

The Aquila constellation occupies an area of 652 square degrees and contains six stars with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +85° and -75° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of August. It is one of the constellations with bright stars forming the Summer Triangle, an imaginary triangle drawn between [435], Altair in Aquila, [3067] Deneb in Cygnus, and [5350] Vega in the Lyra constellation.

The brightest star in the Aquila constellation is [435] Altair or alpha Aquilae, a type-A main sequence star. Its name derives from the Arabic phrase "an-nasr attair," meaning "the flying eagle." At 16.8 light-years from Earth and an apparent visual magnitude of 0.77, Altair is the twelfth brightest star in the night sky. Its rotational period is only 9 hours, which forces its shape into an oblate spheroid, with its polar axis shorter than the diameter of the equator. Together with [441] beta Aquilae, and [436] gamma Aquilae, Altair forms the Shaft of Aquila.

[441] beta Aquilae or Alschain (Arabic for "the peregrine falcon") has magnitude 3.71 and lies 44.7 light-years away from Earth. It has a companion star 13 arcseconds away.

[436] gamma Aquilae or Tarazed, is a giant yellowish-orange star with apparent magnitude of 2.72. The name Tarazed is derived from a Persian phrase meaning "the beam of the scale."

[437] zeta Aquilae or Deneb el Okab ("the tail of the falcon") is a triple star system with an A-type main sequence dwarf for a primary and two 12th magnitude companion stars.

[442] eta Aquilae or Bezek ("lightning"), is a yellow-white supergiant 3000 times more luminous than the Sun and one of the brightest Cepheid variables that can be seen with the naked eye.

[443] epsilon Aquilae, is a triple star system with an orange K-type giant for a primary. Its atmosphere is heavy with Barium, so it is often referred to as the Barium star.

[439] delta Aquilae, is a triple star system and an astrometric binary. Its primary star is a yellow-white F-type subgiant.

[490] pi Aquilae, is a triple star about 570 light-years distant from Earth. It consists of a yellow-white F-type giant (the primary component), an A-type main sequence dwarf, and a faint third component which might be optical.

[438] theta Aquilae, is a blue-white B-type giant. Its traditional name is Tseen Foo, derived from the Mandarin phrase for "the heavenly rafter."

R Aquilae is a suspected Mira class variable star that can be seen with the naked eye at maximum brightness

15 Aquilae is a double star consisting of a yellow 5th-magnitude star and a magnitude 7 companion star.

57 Aquilae is another binary, with two magnitude 6 components and an apparent magnitude of 5.28.

The Aquila constellation also contains several interesting deep sky objects. B143-4 is a dark nebula that appears as a starless patch west of [436] gamma Aquilae. NGC 6709 is an open star cluster with a magnitude of 6.7. NGC 6755 is a small star cluster near [439] delta Aquilae, that appears as a hazy patch of light and consists of about a dozen stars with apparent magnitudes ranging between 12 and 13. NGC 6803 is a magnitude 11 planetary nebula, difficult to see even at high magnification.

Aquila belongs to the Hercules family of constellations, along with Hercules, Sagitta, Lyra, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Hydra, Sextans, Crater, Corvus, Ophiuchus, Serpens, Scutum, Centaurus, Lupus, Corona Australis, Ara, Triangulum Australe and Crux.

Constellations directly bordering Aquila are Sagitta, Hercules, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Serpens Cauda, Scutum, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus.


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