Profile / Characteristics
|English translation||Latin declination and pronunciations||Size/ °²||# stars|
|the Water Bearer||Aquarius – uh-QUAIR-ee-us|
Aquarii – uh-QUAIR-ee-eye
Ancient Lore & Meaning
 Round the prancing Horse range the two Fishes. By the Horse’s head is stretched the right hand of Hydrochoüs [Aquarius].  Other stars, sparsely set beneath Hydrochoüs [Aquarius], hang on high between Cetus in the heavens and the Fish, dim and nameless, and near them on the right hand of bright Hydrochoüs, like some sprinked drops of water lightly shed on this side and on that, other stars wheel bright-eyed though weak. But among them are borne two of more lustrous form, not far apart and yet not near: one beneath both feet of Hydrochoüs, a goodly star and bright, the other beneath the tail of dark-blue Cetus. This cluster as a whole men call The Water.  When Hydrochoüs [Aquarius] is just risen, up wheel the feet and head of the Horse.
English translation by Douglas Kidd (1997).
Aratus: Phaenomena, Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, Series Number 34
French translation by:
Jordi Pàmias i Massana and Arnaud Zucker (2013). Ératosthènes de Cyrène – Catastérismes, Les Belles Lettres, Paris
English version in:
Robin Hard (2015): Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus’s Phaenomena, Oxford World’s Classics
Early Modern Interpretation
As one of their first tasks in the 1920s, the newly founded International Astronomical Union (IAU) established constellation standards. The Belgian astronomer Eugène Delporte was assigned to the task to define borders of constellations parallel to lines of declination and right ascension. They were accepted by the General Assembly in 1928. The standardized names and abbreviations had already been accepted in 1922 and 1925.