|Winter: Orion Canis Major Canis Minor Monoceros Lepus Eridanus Taurus Auriga Camelopardalis Lynx Gemini Cancer|
|Spring: Hydra Sextans Crater Corvus Leo Leo Minor Ursa Major Ursa Minor Canes Venatici Coma Berenices Virgo Bootes|
|Summer: Draco Corona Borealis Hercules Ophiuchus Serpens Libra Scorpius Sagittarius Scutum Aquila Sagitta Vulpecula Lyra Cygnus|
|Autumn: Andromeda Perseus Pegasus Cassiopeia Cepheus Cetus Lacerta Delphinus Equuleus Capricornus Aquarius Pisces Aries|
|Southern Skies: Centaurus Crux Lupus Corona Australis Piscis Australis Sculptor Tucana Fornax Dorado Columba Puppis Carina Vela|
Aquarius is one of the most ancient of all the constellations. For thousands of years cultures world wide have associated it in some way with water. From ancient Greece comes the story of Ganymede, son of King Tros, from whom the city of Troy was named, in the land of Phrygia (now Turkey). Ganymede was said to be a boy of exceeding beauty, and when the king of the gods, Jupiter (Jove) saw him he became immediately infatuated with him. He sent his eagle (Aquila) to snatch the lad and bring him to Olympus, where he became the personal cup-bearer of Jupiter. Historian Robert Graves tells us that this myth became highly popular in ancient Greece and Rome where it was regarded as signifying divine endorsement for homosexuality. The Latin translation of the name Ganymede gave rise to the word catamite. In the words of Statius, as he wrote in his Thebais:
SADALMELIK: "Lucky star of the king." A G2 giant yellow star that is 6000 times brighter than our Sun. But since it is 1,100 light years away, it has an apparent magnitude of only 3.2.
SADALSUUD: "Luckiest of the lucky." A G0 yellow giant, 5800 times brighter than the Sun and 1,030 light years away, giving it a magnitude of 3.1.
SADALACHBIA: "Lucky star of the tents." A B9 greenish colored star only 95 light years away with a magnitude of 4.1.
SKAT: "Leg." An A3 star, 85 light years away with a magnitude of 3.3.
ALBALI: "The swallower." An A1 main sequence star, 170 light years away with a magnitude of 3.77.
ANCHA: "Hip bone." A K0 class star 191 light years away with a magnitude of 4.2.
SITULA: "Water jar." A K type orange giant, 234 light years away with a magnitude of 5.04.
There have been eight planetary systems discovered so far in Aquarius. One of these involves a star that is visible to the naked eye, halfway down the stream of water cascading from the Water Jar. The star is HD 219449 (91 Aqr), 146 light years away, with a magnitude of 4.21. The planet orbiting this star is a massive gas giant, with the mass of three Jupiters, and unlikely to support life.
The most exciting planetary system lies next to the right shin of the water bearer. Unfortunately the star, Gliese 876, only has a magnitude of 10.17, putting it well beyond naked eye visibility. But find the star in binoculars or a small telescope, and you will be looking at a star supporting no less than four planets. Three of these planets are smaller than Jupiter, and one of them, planet Gliese 876d, is only 7.5 times larger than Earth. It is one of the smallest most Earth like exoplanets discovered, and brings us one step closer to finding extraterrestrial life. Best of all, the system is only 15 light years away, one of our closest neighbors, further increasing the possibility of detecting life. This is a star to keep your eye on. For the latest information on exoplanets, visit NASA's Planet Quest.