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Aquila, The Eagle Constellation

Aquila (Pronounciation:A-quill-a, Abbrev:Aql, Latin:Aquilae) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Aquila takes up 652.473 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.58% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Eagle . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

Aquila is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Aquila is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.

The brightest star in Aquila is Altair. There are 18 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Aquila. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Aquila Star List Page.

Aquila Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Aquila is 1655. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 72. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 7.

There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.

Stars of Interest

The nearest star to Earth is Altair which is roughly about 16.73 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 183263 which is about 179.7 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 95541 which is located about 163081.7 Light Years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

The dimmest star that can be seen in Aquila with the naked eye is 80 G. Aql. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

Legend of Aquila

Aquila was the eagle that carried Zeus' thunderbolts. Also used to fetch the shepherd boy Ganymede for Zeus. Ganymede is believed to be represented in the skies by Aquarius .

Meteor Showers

There are 7 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
LyridsApril 16-25Apr. 22Vega

Aquila Facts


NameAquila
AbbreviationAql
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarAltair
Area652.473 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.58%
Size Position22nd
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count18
Meteor Shower Count7
Nearest StarAltair
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 183263
Dimmest Star80 G. Aql
Furthest StarHIP 95541
Bright Star Count72
Hipparcos Star Count1655
Main Star Count7
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsSagittarius
Hercules
Ophiuchus
Serpens
Scutum
Sagittarius
Capricornus
Aquarius
Delphinus

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.


Aquila Constellation Map


Aquila Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.



List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Aquila


NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
SN W49bSupernova Remnant33,000 Light Years+09:06:2419h 11m 09s

Meteor Showers

Lyrids Meteor Shower

Lyrids is a Meteor Shower that falls just to the east of constellation of Lyra. It could be said that the meteor shower is more Hercules than Lyra but it has been given to Lyra. It is associated with the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher which is a mid-range comet with its orbit taking 415 years, considerable longer than Encke but not as long as Hyakutake which estimated at 40,000 Years.

Associated CometThatcher
Max Activity Date22 Apr
Activity PeriodApril 16-25
Right Ascension18:04
Declination34
Solar Longitude32.32
Alpha Radiant271
Speed49
Zenith Hourly Rate18


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