AQUARIUS (a-kw?´ri-us)—THE WATER CARRIER. (Face Southwest.)
Location.—A line drawn from ? Pegasi to ? of the same constellation, and prolonged as far again, ends just east of the so-called water jar of Aquarius, which is formed by a group of four stars in the form of a “Y,” as indicated in the diagram. The Arabians called these four stars a tent.
The jar is represented as inverted, allowing a stream of water represented by dim stars in pairs and groups of three stars, to descend, ending in the bright star Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish.
A rough map of South America can be traced in the stars ?, ?, ?, ?, 88, ?.
A rude dipper can be made out in the western part of the constellation, formed of the stars ?, ?, ?, ?.
The stars ? and ? are doubles. Of the former pair, one is white, the other orange in color. Fomalhaut was the object of sunrise worship in the temple of Demeter at Eleusis in 500 b.c. The ancients called this region of the sky “the Sea.”
In the vicinity of ?, Mayer observed in 1756 what he termed a fixed star. Herschel thought it a comet. It proved to be the planet Uranus.
? is almost exactly on the celestial equator.
? is a red star, the most prominent of the first stars in the stream. The stars in Piscis Australis can be traced out with an opera-glass.
Fomalhaut and Capella, in Auriga, rise almost exactly at the same minute.
Fomalhaut is one of the four “royal stars” of astrology. The others are Regulus, Antares, and Aldebaran.