Aries (constellation)

related topics
{god, call, give}
{math, energy, light}
{line, north, south}
{specie, animal, plant}

May Arietids
Autumn Arietids
Delta Arietids
Epsilon Arietids
Daytime-Arietids

Perseus
Triangulum
Pisces
Cetus

Aries (meaning: "ram") is one of the constellations of the zodiac, located between Pisces to the west and Taurus to the east. Its name is Latin for ram, and its symbol is Aries.svg (Unicode ♈), representing a ram's horns. Aries was one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations today.

In Chinese astronomy, constellation Aries is part of The White Tiger of the West (西方白虎, Xī Fāng Bái Hǔ).

Contents

Notable features

Stars

Deep sky objects

The few deep sky objects in Aries are very dim. They include the galaxies NGC 697 (northwest of β Ari), NGC 772 (southeast of β Ari), NGC 972 (in the constellation's northern corner), and NGC 1156 (northwest of δ Ari).

Visualizations

Ancient Greek astronomers visualized Aries as a ram lying down with its head turned to the right. The stars α, β and γ Arietis mark the ram’s head and horns, according to Ptolemy's Almagest.

Mythology

In the ancient Babylonian calendar given in the clay tablets known as the MUL.APIN, the constellation now known as Aries was the final station along the ecliptic. It was known as MULLU.ḪUN.GA, "The Agrarian Worker". It is unclear how the "Agrarian Worker" became the "Ram" of Greek tradition, but John H. Rogers has suggested that it may have been via association with the legendary figure of Dumuzi the Shepherd. According to another source the Sumerian name LU.HUN.GA is really a learned pun - at face value it refers to the hired workers who bring in the springtime barley harvest, but beyond this the word "LU" understood in Akkadian can refer to 'sheep' and thus the name can be interpreted as something like 'The Sheep of Appeasement'[1]. Aries only rose to its prominent position in the Neo-Babylonian revision of the Babylonian zodiac as the first point of Aries came to represent vernal equinox, replacing the Pleiades which had had this function during the Bronze Age.[2]

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