The mighty eagle of Zeus, which served the gods in many capacities and was rewarded with a seat among the constellations, is represented in the night sky by the Aquila constellation.
It was believed that Zeus’ lightning bolts were carried by Aquila. During the conflict with the Titans, Aquila performed exceptionally well at this duty, which ultimately contributed to the Gods’ victory.
He was devoted to Zeus and could be seen sitting on his shoulder at all times.
Ganymede was to serve as the Gods’ cup-bearer, so Zeus tasked Aquila with capturing him and bringing him to the Gods.
Aquila, the gigantic eagle, swooped down and captured Ganymede before carrying him up to Mount Olympus, where Ganymede served the Gods as Aquarius, the Water-Bearer. In this tale about the constellation, Aquila, the big eagle, swooped down and captured Ganymede.
Aquila is one of the Stymphalian Birds from the Labors of Hercules. The other two are Cygnus, the Swan, and Lyra, which was regarded as a vulture (carrying a lyre and not the lyre itself). Aquila is the largest of the three. The Summer Triangle is formed by the three brightest stars in the constellations Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra: Altair in Aquila, Deneb in Cygnus, and Vega in Lyra.
These are extremely luminous stars, and the triangle is easily discernible in the sky when viewed from the northern hemisphere.
Watching The Eagle Soar
Right Ascension: 20 hours
Declination: 5 degrees
Visible between latitudes 85 and -75 degrees
Best seen in September (at 9:00 PM)
Named Stars: ALTAIR (Alpha Aql) ALSHAIN (Beta Aql) TARAZED (Gamma Aql) Deneb el Okab (Epsilon Aql) Deneb el Okab (Zeta Aql)
Altair is a bright star of magnitude 0.8.
Aquila has many clusters and nebulae to view.
Open clusters:NGC6709, NGC6755, NGC6749.
Globular cluster NGC6760 which has a 9.1 magnitude.
Planetary nebulae: NGC6778, NGC6741, NGC6772
NGC6804 looks like a small bright ring.
NGC6751 the “glowing eye” nebula.
NGC6781 with an appearance similar to the owl nebula in Ursa Major(the big dipper constellation)
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