You may not have noticed, in the evening at this time of the year, the sky is covered with many Constellation These relate to water including: Capricorn (Capricorn/Sea Goat), Aquarius (Aquarius/Water Bearer), Pisces (Pisces), Pisces Austrinus (Nam Ngu/South Pisces), Cetus (Eagle/Whale) and finally Eridanus (Ba Giang/River). Even the sky where these constellations reside is often called the “sea”. The water is indeed overflowing sky !!!
Autumn starry sky with constellations Capricornus, Aquarius, Piscis Austrinus, Cetus… above the Athabasca River and the summit of the Continental Divide, in Jasper National Park, Canada. Photo taken by Alan Dyer on October 22, 2016.
Maybe these constellations symbolize the rainy season or maybe how people remember great floods in the past. There is a legend connecting these constellations to an ancient cataclysm in the Tigris-Euphrates basin (Luong Ha). But all of them are only legends, only God knows their exact origin!
Another thing is that the constellations above are all very faint and basically contain no significant objects to amateur astronomy. Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces are very famous, but in fact this reputation only comes from the fact that they are the constellations of the Zodiac, where the Sun “passes” each year.
CAPRICORNUS (Capricorn/Sea Goat)
Capricorn is the smallest constellation of the Zodiac. In Greek mythology, Capricorn is the embodiment of Pan – the god of wilderness and country music, he has a very odd shape, half man, half goat. In the great war between Zeus and the forces of the Titans, Pan was on Zeus’ side. Once he was attacked by the giant monster Typhon, so he was forced to dive into the Nile to escape. His hind legs instantly transformed into fishtails allowing him to swim more easily and evade enemies. Later, Zeus honored Pan by sending an image of him with a fishtail to the sky.
Capricorn is a faint constellation, with only one star above +3 brightness, so it’s hard to identify. At the beginning of November, it rises very early, twilight is already located relatively low in the south and will set a few hours later.
AQUARIUS (Aquarius/Water Bearer)
In many cultures, Aquarius is associated with water. The Babylonians saw it as the image of an overflowing vessel, and they associated it with heavy rains in November, while the ancient Egyptians honored this constellation as Hapi, the god of the Nile. As for the Greeks, Aquarius was the handsome young Ganymede. The god Zeus loved him, so he sent an eagle (the constellation Aquila) to take Ganymede to heaven to serve wine to the gods. Since then, the image of the boy has become immortal in the starry sky.
Despite its prominent position on the ecliptic and its relatively large size, Aquarius is still only a less prominent constellation with no bright stars. One way to find this constellation is to try Identify the constellation Pegasus (Galor/Sky Horse) is pretty bright right next to Aquarius first.
PISCIS AUSTRINUS (Nam Ngu/Southern Fish)
Right next to Aquarius and Capricorn is a relatively small constellation Piscis Austrinus – Pisces of the South. It bears this name to distinguish it from the two northern fishes, the constellation Pisces – Pisces. In Greek mythology, this constellation is depicted as a giant fish drinking water spilled by the water carrier Aquarius. Piscis Austrinus has a famous bright star, Fomalhaut, located in the mouth of the fish. It is a first and 18th magnitude star in the sky. There is an interesting thing, around Fomaulhaut there are very few bright stars, which is why it is sometimes called “the loneliest star” in the sky. It seems that it is not difficult to find Piscis Austrinus, but since it is a southern celestial constellation, it never rises too high in our sky.
PISCES (Pisces/Two Pisces)
Referring to the legend of this constellation, we will continue to return to the monster Typhon, which forced Pan to turn into a “sea goat” (for some reason people call him a sea goat as Pan jumped into the river). Typhon was ordered to attack Mount Olympus, the abode of the gods. Fearing the monster, the gods fled in their turn, including Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, and the god of love, Eros. We are probably most familiar with the names Venus and Cupid, the names of two gods in Roman mythology. Running towards the bank, the two gods tied them with ropes, then transformed into two fish and jumped into the river. Thanks to the rope, the two did not lose each other and escaped safely.
Pisces as well as the two zodiac constellations Aquarius and Capricorn mentioned above, do not have bright stars, so identification is a challenge. However, Pisces is also often mentioned because the vernal equinox is now there.
Cetus is a large constellation, it ranks 4th in terms of area in the sky, after Hydra (Long Serpent), Virgo (Virgo) and Ursa Major (Big Dipper).
Although often depicted as a whale, in many cases it is believed to be a monster that was destroyed by the hero Perseus while on his way to rescue Princess Andromeda from the evil snake-haired demon Medusa.
Eridan (Ba Giang/Cai River)
Here we will end the story of the family of “water” constellations, the poetic river Eridanus.
The winding and endless river Eridanus is often considered to originate from real famous rivers in the world such as Euphrates, Tigris, Po, Nile, Ebro, Rhine and Rhone. Even the historian Homer refers to Eridanus as “a sea current that meanders around the Earth”. But here we will mention a legend with a sad ending that has to do with Phaeton, son of the sun god Helios. Phaeton was very young, but he was very eager to try driving his father’s solar chariot through the sky. It is extremely difficult and requires a lot of strength. After much persuasion, Helios reluctantly agreed, though still very nervous. And indeed, the disaster happened. Due to his inability to control the two magic horses pulling the cart, Phaeton nearly froze the world when he flew too high, then burned his face again from flying too low. When Zeus, he sent a lightning bolt at the chariot. Phaethon died instantly and fell into the Eridanus River. There is also a legend that Eridanus was the road Phaeton took on the last reckless, dangerous, and thoughtless journey of his life.
Cong Thang – Hanoi Amateur Astronomy Association (HAS)
Tham khảo: sky above, fast solar system, star date
The image of the constellations is taken from the Star walk 2 software