Space & Astronomy Wiki – the constellations in the sky –
One of the first constellations in the night sky to be perceived the human eyes, Aquarius the Water Bearer was first recorded by Babylonian astronomers as “the Great One” on stones and official seals as early as the year 2000 BCE.
Located in the fourth quadrant between latitude 65-90, Aquarius the Water Bearer is the 10th largest constellation covering 980 square degrees of the night sky.
Found near Cetus (the whale), Pisces (the fish), Delphinus (the dolphin) and Eridanus (the river) on the Sea of the Southern sky, Aquarius the Water Bearer is best viewed in the evening sky in the Southern Hemisphere in spring and autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.
Look high in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere sky early in October around 10 p.m. local time (11 p.m. local daylight saving time), or early in November around 8 p.m. local time, to best see Aquarius the Water Bearer.
Look for four bright stars outlining a person with an overflowing vessel pouring water in the form of faint stars into the mouth of the star Fomalhaut in Piscis Austrinus the Southern Fish.
This is Aquarius the Water Bearer!
You can learn more about the constellation Aquarius here.
We all experience things differently, but we each witness wondrous things and gain knowledge about ourselves and the bigger universe we live in during our journey.
What does skywatcher or astronomer mean to you? People viewing the night sky and contemplating the meaning of the universe. We have created distinct categories that are listed below.
What kind of sky watcher or astronomer are you?
The professional skywatcher or astronomer earns a significant portion of their income from working in astronomy. They either teach the science in college or university or do space science research on a daily basis. Modern researchers work in individual science specialties like archaeoastronomy and astrometry, or on teams of space scientists planning current and future space missions and designing and engineering the latest spacecraft.
The amateur telescope maker and gadgeteer
This breed of skywatcher once composed a large percentage of astronomy hobbyists. They build amazing telescopes from scratch, grind mirrors, and haul their spaceship-to-the-stars to local star parties. Hands-on amateurs and inventive innovators, many are first time users and adopters of new astronomy technology. The amateur telescope maker and gadgeteer enjoy looking at telescopes as much as through one.
The amateur specialist astronomer
Amateur specialist skywatchers love to observe variable stars, track satellites across the sky, and spend days, weeks and even months hunting for comets. They provide useful scientific data that contributes to our understanding of the universe and enables the human journey to the stars.
The backyard skywatcher or astronomer
The backyard skywatcher thinks space is cool and many are quite knowledgeable concerning the latest astronomy news or book. They enjoy reading about space science and astronomy and a percentage own their own telescope.
The beginner skywatcher
The beginner can be of any age group and just joined the human journey to the beginning of space and time. They often come to the adventure with a relatively clean slate, so find everything exciting.
The astronomy photographer
Often a photographic artist of the highest ability, the astronomy photographer creates and shares astronomy photography techniques and stunning images of the cosmos. Having a vast array of astronomy photography skills and amazing patience, they often leave us sitting back and enjoying their work.
The science fiction fanatic
The science fiction fanatic loves astronomy because of concepts like wormholes, folding space, multiverses, and tachyons. Constantly looking for a door to another dimension or the next universe, they’re more at home in Star Trek, than the real human journey to the stars.
The space travel and planet colonization advocate
Often a romantic soul, the space travel, and planet colonization advocate can be a member of The Planetary Society and wants to colonize other worlds. They’re currently pushing for the colonization of Mars, traveling to nearby asteroids and the jovian moons, and actively push for funding for the human journey to the beginning of space and time.
The space nut or visionary
The space nut or visionary sends in letters ‘disproving’ relativity or offering a brilliant alternative theory. Often they believe NASA is covering up an eminent and world-ending asteroid strike and provide detailed math and physics to back up their claims. Convinced they know something the rest of us don’t, some could be right.
The imprisoned skywatcher
The imprisoned skywatcher has developed a deep curiosity about astronomy but lives in a light-polluted region of the world. They read all they can about space science and the human journey to the stars, but can’t enjoy the journey as they should.
The astronomy zealot
The astronomy zealot looks at the “Big Picture” and the most outrageous models of the human journey to the beginning of space and time. Throw them a string theory or multiverse hypothesis and they swallow it whole. They’re cerebral, speculative and open-minded to anything, and often prefer a novel possibility over hard fact.
The spouses and friends
Spouses get invited to attend star parties, astronomy talks, and sightseeing tours through the solar system and beyond. Only partly enjoying and understanding the process and events, they learn to enjoy these moments, or just put up with it.
The Star Followers
Star navigators are mostly pilots, adventurers, and yachtsmen using the night sky to navigate the globe because they enjoy the hands on feeling of adventure in the ancient art of celestial navigation.
Following their passion and desire to explore, they’re the astronauts of the future, the true adventurers at the forefront of the human exploration of the solar system and beyond.
The enthusiastic human with no idea
The enthusiastic human with no idea about the human journey to the beginning of space and time is the majority of the human race. Unable to name or pinpoint the brightest star in the night sky, or the most common element in the universe, the cosmos just isn’t that interesting to them, so far.
No matter what kind of sky watcher or astronomer you’re, the wonder and mystery of the cosmos can create a passion to answers questions deep within the heart.
Questions generations of sky watchers and astronomers spent thousands of years looking up into the night sky trying to answer. Answers we have designed and engineered amazing spacecraft and telescopes to find during the modern age of space travel and astronomy we live today.
Welcome to the human journey to the beginning of space and time!
Editor and Chief
The human journey to the beginning of space and time
To ancient sky watchers, Christopher Columbus was old news
Ancient Astronomy – Humans have been looking upward at the stars in the night sky for tens of thousands of years, wondering where it all began. Prehistoric humans revered the earth and heavens above and used the stars as a guide. Thousands of years ago ancient astronomers in China and India spent whole lifetimes staring into the vastness of time and space, cataloging the patterns of stars in the night sky. By the time Christopher Columbus announced the world was round, it was old news to ancient sky watchers in many regions of the world.
Greek Astronomy and Astronomers
The earth is a globe (Pythagoras)
In the western world it’s believed the fifth century BC Greek philosopher and astronomer Pythagoras originated the idea of a spherical earth, but the possibility of this idea being borrowed from Egyptian or eastern sources exists. Two hundred years later another Greek, Aristarchus of Samos, affirmed the belief in the earth’s spherical shape. He also announced the earth spun on its axis and, like the other planets, revolved around the sun. It wasn’t until the third century BC that Eratosthenes, custodian of the library of Alexandria, used his knowledge of astronomy to measure with considerable accuracy the earth’s circumference and diameter.
Astronomers in India
Ancient writings show that ancient astronomers of India had ascertained the spherical shape of the earth by the fourth century BC. Verses from the Sanskrit sacred books called the Vedas written in 3000 BC refer to a sun-centered universe. A universe ruled by the sun, moon, earth, sky and dawn, all deities to ancient astronomers in India, with attributes to match their natural ability. By the first century BC, it’s clear ancient astronomers and many common people in India knew the earth was spherical in shape.
Chinese astronomy has roots at least 4000 years old and China is considered by most archaeoastronomers to be the oldest known star watching society on earth. Ancient Chinese pottery dated to 6,000 years ago shows scenes of the sun, moon and stars, even ancient Chinese records of the stars are depicted on bones and shells, but the oldest known evidence points back as far as 14,000 BC. Ancient Chinese astronomers were studying and cataloging the patterns of stars in the sky tens of thousands of years ago.
By the time Christopher Columbus announced to the western world the earth was round, this was old news to star watchers and astronomers in many of the most advanced regions of the world.
Watch this documentary on the History Channel about Christopher Columbus.