Aquila has been known as the eagle as far back as 1200BC where it was found pictured on an old Euphratean uraanographic stone. The Persians, Hebrews, Arabs, Greeks and Latins all saw this constellation as an eagle. Aquila is supposed to be the eagle, who belonged to Zeus, carried Ganymede to his place in the sky. The Romans tell a story of how this eagle helped Jupiter in his battle with the Titans for control of the universe. In China, Japan and Korea, this group of three bright stars becomes the shepherd in the love story of the princess and the magpie bridge. The remaining stars in the area become the oxen of the herder. See the history and lore of Lyra.

For the Observer

Aquila lies along the Milky Way and sweeping binoculars or a telescope through this area is a rewarding sight.

Sky Chart of the Stars of Summer

Alpha Aquila, Altair, ( 19h 51m +08° 52') along with Vega and Deneb, make up the asterism the summer triangle. Altair is a class A7 blue-white main sequence star about 16 light years distant. It makes a transit on September 4th.

Beta Aquila Alschain( 19h 52m .8 +06° 17' ) Is a class G8 star with a magnitude of 3.71 at a distance of 40 light years. The companion is somewhat of a challenge at magnitude 11.5.

Eta Aquila (19h 49m .9 +00° 52') is a cepheid variable star with a period of 7.2 days. It changes from 3.5 to 4.5 in magnitude.

Copyright © 1995 - 2003
Kathy Miles, Author, and Chuck Peters, Systems Administrator