This week the constellation Aquilla (The Eagle) reaches its high point in the Southern sky in the early evening hours, just after sunset as we celebrate Yom Kipper, the Jewish Day of Atonement, on October 4.
Aquilla (The Eagle) is a picture of a stricken eagle falling from the sky. Its brightest star, a member of the Summer Triangle (See our Blog of 8/13/14 “The Summer Triangle Rises”) is Altair, meaning The Wounding. Other stars convey the same meaning, including Tarared (wounded) Alshain (Scarlet Colored), Alcair (The Piercing), and Alokal (Wounded in the Heel). The latter star name , Alokal, clearly shows that the falling eagle represents the Seed of Woman, who was “Bruised in the Heel.” The star Alcair reminds us that Christ was pierced as He hung on the cross (See Psalms 22:16)
Aquilla is one of the constellations associated with the Zodiacal Constellation Capricorn (The Goat) which pictures the death and resurrection of Christ. Capricorn itself pictures a dying Scapegoat ( See Lev 16:15 and Heb 9:24-28), as was sacrificed on the Day of Atonement. The little constellation Sagitta (The Arrow) reminds us that Christ suffered the arrow of God’s wrath (Ps 7:11-13) for us and became our atoning sacrifice. Finally, the constellation Delphinus (The Dolphin) shows us the fulfillment of Jesus’s sign of Jonah, as he came out of the grave and back to life in three days.
Aquilla and its bright star Altair also play a prominent part in the Chinese Lunar Zodiac, which divides the sky into 28 sections corresponding to the movement of the Moon through the stars. The Lunar mansion of Altair is known as the Ox, a sacrificed victim, and the carries the same meaning as Capricorn does in the Solar Zodiac. It was in the Lunar Mansion of Altair that the Chinese observed a Nova in the Spring of 5 BC, and so confirmed the Biblical story of the Star of Bethlehem (See our Blog of 12/11/13 “Christmas with the Star of Bethlehem”).
Aquilla sits about half way between the Zenith point and the Southern horizon in the early evening. The small constellation Sagitta is just to the North of the bright star Altair, and the constellation Delphinus is just to its East. The Zodiacal constellation Capricorn is South East of Aquilla, reaching its highest point about an hour after Aquilla does. Use your binoculars for best viewing.
Enjoy the beautiful Stars of Yom Kipper tonight and remember to tell someone about Christ’s atoning sacrifice.