Planet Earth
International Astronomical Union WGSN

IAU: Aquila

Profile / Characteristics

English translationLatin declination and pronunciationsSize/ °²# stars
the EagleAquila – ACK-will-uh, uh-QUILL-uh
Aquilae – ACK-will-ee, uh-QUILL-ee

Ancient Globes

Farnese Globe

Kugel Globe

Mainz Globe

feet northwards

feet southwards

feet northwards

Ancient Lore & Meaning


[312] By it is the Bird [Cygnus] outspread nearer the North, but hard at hand another bird tosses in storm, of smaller size but cruel in its rising from the sea when the night is waning, and men call it the Eagle (Storm-bird) [Aquila]. [521] But it has no share in the Eagle, but near it flies the mighty messenger of Zeus. Facing the Eagle wheel the head and neck of the Horse. [590] At the coming of the Lion [Leo] those constellations wholly set, which were setting when the Crab rose, and with them sets the Eagle. [690] She [Argo] sinks wholly at the rising of Aegoceros, when Procyon sets too, and there rise the Bird and the Eagle and the gems of the winged Arrow and the sacred Altar, that is established in the South.

English translation by Douglas Kidd (1997).
Aratus: Phaenomena, Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, Series Number 34

Online available: translation by Mair (1921) 


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.  

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