• Antinous the Servant

    Asterism Visual Appearance

    The stars of Antinous lie entirely within the modern constellation of Aquila.

    Asterism Origin and History

    This star pattern was mentioned by Ptolemy, although he did not list it among his 48 constellations. The figure of Antinous appears on the celestial globe of Gerard Mercator made in 1551.

    Asterism Skylore

    Historical person:  As the slave of Hadrian, Antinous drowned himself in the Nile in order (as he thought) to preserve Hadrian's life.

    According to Homer, Antinous was one of Penelope’s suitors during Odysseus’ absence because of the Trojan War. Upon the return of Odysseus, Antinous was the first suitor slain by Odysseus.  Odyssey IV, 628, 660, 773; XVII, 409; XXII, 8. (See Penelope’s story as told by Bulfinch.)

    Another well-known Antinous was the boy lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian: “The deification of Antinous, his medals, statues, city, oracles, and constellation, are well known, and still dishonor the memory of Hadrian. Yet we may remark, that of the first fifteen emperors, Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct.” Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (footnote on p. 76, vol. 1). (See Lady Hedgehog.)

    Hyginus - Ganymede, brought to Jove by Aquila.

  • Bode (1801), Plate 1: Aries Planisphere


    Uranographia Tab I. Stellatum Hemisphaeri um Arietis

    Bode included two planisphere plates. They are not southern and northern hemispheres; each one has Polaris at the top and the south pole at the bottom. Each one is centered upon an equinox point (where the ecliptic or path of the Sun and the celestial equator intersect). The March equinox point was in Aries in antiquity; by Bode’s time, due to the precession of the equinoxes, it had shifted to Pisces. The September equinox point was in Libra in antiquity; by Bode’s time it had shifted to Virgo.  Bode titled the plates as the Aries and Libra planispheres.

    The Aries planisphere, centered on the March equinox in Pisces, includes these constellations, among others, which appear high overhead in the night skies of autumn:

    Equatorial:  Orion, Taurus, Harpa Georgii, Cetus, Aries, Pisces, Pegasus, Aquarius, Aquila, Scutum.

    Northern:  Auriga, Perseus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Draco, Honores Frederici, Cepheus, Cygnus, Lyra.

    Southern:  Eridanus, Apparatus Chemicus, Machina Electrica, Apparatus Sculptoris, Horologium, Toucan, Phoenix, Grus, Indus, Pavo, Tubus Astronomicus, Octans Nautica, Microscopium, Sagittarius, Globus Aerostatic.

    In March, the Aries-Pisces equinox (the center of the Aries planisphere) is traveling with the Sun, rising in the east in the mornings and setting in the west in the evenings. Imagine the center of the planisphere has the Sun pinned to it for that day, and that’s how it would move across the sky. Therefore the constellations near the center of this planisphere are invisible in the daytime sky at that time unless there is a solar eclipse. They would be visible directly opposite the Sun at the September equinox.