The Aries constellation - myths, facts and location

1. Aries means ‘ram’ in Latin
2. Unlike most of its zodiac counterparts, it hosts no notable galaxies or nebulae
3. Hosts one of the strongest daytime meteor showers, the May Arietids
4. Though considered a mid-sized constellation, only a few stars are easily visible to the naked eye due to most of them not being particularly luminous
5. Depicted by Marshall Islanders as a porpoise, and as twin inspectors by the Chinese

An overview

The constellation of Pisces makes up a crooked line considered by many to be rather lacking in nuanced visual features. The constellation consists of 9 main stars, with the brightest being Alpha Arietis, an orange giant.

It is one of the 12 Greek Zodiac constellations, and is visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. It appears during the autumn and winter in the Northern hemisphere and during the spring and mid-summer in the Southern hemisphere.

The myth

In Greek mythology, Aries is representative of the golden-fleeced ram that rescued Phrixus.

Phrixus, the son of a Boetian king, had a stepmother, Ino, who hated all her stepchildren and wanted nothing but to be rid of them. In an attempt to do just that, Ino put the entire land at the brink of famine by sabotaging the wheat crops.

Phrixus and his sister, Helle, were about to die of starvation when a winged ram with a golden fleece came to their rescue. The ram was sent by their blood mother, Nephele, and was to take both children to Colchis, but Helle fell off on the journey there and drowned in the Dardanelles.

As the sole survivor of the journey, Phrixus sacrificed the ram to the gods in gratitude of their protection. The ram was then immortalized among the stars, birthing the constellation of Aries.

The constellation

The Constellation of Aries is situated in the northern sky’s first quadrant, and is visible between latitudes +90 to -60 degrees. It neighbors the constellations Cetus, Perseus, Pisces, Taurus, and Triangulum.

Of the 9 main stars it consists, there exists three celestial bodies of note: Alpha Arietis, an orange giant that makes up the brightest star of the constellation; Beta Arietis, a binary system making up the direct point at Aries’ horns; and Gamma Arietis, a triple-star-system 160 lightyears away from Earth.