Hercules (Pronounciation:Her-q-leas, Abbrev:Her, Latin:Herculis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Hercules takes up 1225.148 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 2.97% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Warrior . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.
Hercules is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Hercules is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.
The brightest star in Hercules is Kornephoros. There are 9 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Hercules is Ras Algethi.
The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Hercules is 3381. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 135. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 16.
There are 2 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 2 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.
The nearest star to Earth is HIP 84140 which is roughly about 19.5 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is 14 Herculis which is about 57.31 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 83304 which is located about 163082 Light Years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Hercules with the naked eye is HIP84631. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan
The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.
Hercules is the fifth largest constellation in the sky and is a northern hemispheric constellation. Its brightest star is Kornephoros which although tradition dictates that the brightest star is usually alpha, in this case, Beta Herculi is the brightest. It is not the exception, Gemini also has its brightest star designated Beta.
Hercules (Roman) or Heracles (Greek) was the son of Zeus, He more closely associated with Greek mythology than Roman. The television series Hercules starring Kevin Sorbo uses the Greek Gods but Roman spelling. Hercules was born to a mortal woman Alcmene and Zeus. This enraged Hera, Zeus` wife who plotted to kill the young child. All her plans including a snake failed. He managed many feats including defeating the Manyans to rescue Thebes. He was awarded the hand of Megara, the Princess of Thebes. After his three sons were born, Hera extracted revenge on Hercules. In a fit of rage, he killed his wife and three sons. He was arrested and became a slave to Eurystheus, King of Mycenae. Eurystheus was also Hercules` brother. He had been created after Hercules but born first so that he could be King and not Hercules. Eurystheus relied on Hera to devise a number of labours to punish Hercules.
Hercules had to slay the Nemean Lion which was terrorising the area near Nemea. The skin was so thick that weapons were unable to penetrate it. After using an array of weapons, he tackled the lion to the ground and either strangled it or choked it. Skinning the creature was impossible until Athena gave him the tools to do it. The lion became the constellation Leo.
Hydra was a multi-headed sea-creature that lived in a lake near Lerna in the Argoid. Beneath the waters was reputed to be the entrance to the underworld which Hydra guarded. The creature was known for its poisonous gases which Hercules was well aware of. He fired arrows into the water to draw the creature out. He fought with a harvesting sickle, however it soon turned out to be useless. Whenever he chopped off one of the heads, two grew back to replace the lost head. He turned to his Iolaus for help in defeating the creature. They came up with the plan to burn the neck of the last severed head to stop it from growing back. This worked, Hercules would chop off the head and Iolaus would burn the neck. In some stories, Hera`s crab made life hard for Hercules during the fight. The crab is immortalised in the stars as Cancer.
The Hind, a deer was so fast it could outrun an arrow. Eurystheus ordered that Hercules bring back the antlers. The chase lasted many months as he followed the Hind through Greece, Thrace, Istria and the land of the Hyperboreans. He is reputed to have caught the creature as it rested. Once he had captured the Hind, Artemis and Apollo turned up. He explained the situation to them and was allowed to take the Hind with him back to the King. Once he arrived at the Kings Palace, the Hind was released and escaped.
On Mount Erymanthos was a Boar that was sacred to the Mistress of the Animals also known as Potnia Theron. It was used when the Goddess was in anger, it would be sent down the hillside to destroy a farmers crop. On the way to capture it, he visited Pholus, a Centaur and a friend. When they dined, he opened a wine bottle which attracted other Centaurs. In the melee that followed, Hercules managed to drive them back using poisonous arrows he had with him. Pholus was stabbed in the foot after dropping one of the arrows he had picked up. Pholus is believed to be immortalised as the constellation Centaurus . Chiron, was hit by a stray arrow and although immortal, felt great pain. He gave up his immortality for Prometheus, who was being tortured by an Eagle in Tartarus, a part of the Underworld. Hercules killed the Eagle with a bow and arrow. Chiron advised Hercules on how best to capture the Boar. The plan was to drive the creature into snow thus rendering it unable to move. Hercules picked up the boar and carried it back.
This task was to demean Hercules. It was to clean out the stables of Augeas, the King of Elis and Husband to Epicaste. The stables housed the greatest number of cattle in the country and had never been cleaned. The cattle were immune to infection. The King promised to give Hercules 10% of his stock if it was completed in a day. Hercules did this by re-routing Alpheus and Peneus into the stables. Augeas couldn`t believe it when he did this in such a short time then he reneges on his deal. Hercules took revenge and killed the King.
Around the lake of Lake Stymphalus were birds with claws of brass and sharp metallic feathers. Their dung was highly toxic. They would lay siege to any area that they arrived at. Hercules aided with tools from Athena and Hephaestus frightened them into the sky then shot at them with arrows. The constellation Sagitta is associated with one of the arrows that Hercules used to kill one of the birds. The birds maybe represented by the constellation Lyra.
The Bull lived on the Island of Crete and was terrorising the people. After seeking permission from King Minos, he went out and captured the bull by lassoing it. He rode the bull back to Eurystheus. Eurystheus was going to sacrifice the bull but Hera declined fearing it would increase the glory reflected upon Hercules. The bull is immortalised by the constellation Taurus.
On the shores of the Black Sea were four man-eating wild horses. They belonged to Diomedes, King of Thrace, son to Ares and Cyrene. Hercules called on the help of Abderus and other male friends to capture the creatures. They chased them into the sea which made their capture all the easier. Diomedes fought with Hercules over what he was doing because he didn`t want to lose his horses. Whilst this was going on, Abderus was killed by one of the horses. Angered by what had happened to Abderus, he captured Diomedes and fed him to the horses. He managed to tie up the mouths of the horses and took them to Eurystheus. The horses were dedicated to Hera. What happened to the horses after that is contentious. Some say Hera took them to Argos, other says Zeus sent wild animals to kill them. Alexander the Great`s horse Bucephalus is said to be a descendent of theirs.
Hippolyte was an Amazonian Queen who was the daughter of Ares. Some say that Hippolyte just gave the girdle to Hercules because she fell in love with him. The other main story revolves around him kidnapping Melanippe and demanding the girdle in ransom. It works and he gets the girdle. Theseus, one of Hercules companions kidnaps Antiope, another sister of Hipployte. The Amazons attack Athens but the plucky adventurers escape with both the girdle and Antiople.
He got Helios, the Sun to help him cross the desert of Libya. Libya at the same was the generic term for the whole of Africa. On reaching Erythesia, he was confronted by Orthrus, a two headed dog which he despatched with at ease. Geryon, on herding what had happened, chased Hercules at river Anthemus. Hercules killed him with a poisonous arrow made from the blood of Hydra. He had to herd the animals back to Eurystheus but during the journey, some were stolen by Cacus. Along the journey, Hercules came across the stolen Cows and killed Cacus in the process of rescuing them. Hera sent a gadfly to scatter the cows and make Hercules job nigh impossible. She then caused a flood to occur to separate the cows. This did not put Hercules off. He used stones to cross the river and round up the cows. During the crossing, he had to kill a half-woman, half-serpent creature. Once he made it back to Eurystheus, the cows were sacrificed.
A tree or a collection of trees in the far west of the world that grew golden apples. The tree came from Gaia as a wedding present to Hera and Zeus. Originally, Eurystheus set only ten tasks but because Hercules had had help, the number of labours were increased to twelve. Hercules first caught Nereus, a shape-shifting sea god to find the location of the apples. Some other legends have him Nereus not being able to tell him where the gardens are. As such, he sort help from Prometheus which had been saved from torture. Once he had found the location, he had to deal with Ladon, a massive multi-headed dragon that guarded the garden. He killed the dragon by throwing a spear at it. The dragon became immortalised as the constellation Draco . Hercules got Atlas to retrieve the apples whilst he held up the skies for him. The apples were later returned to the garden by Athena.
Cerberus was a two-headed dog with a snake for a tail and snake heads all over his body. The creature guarded the entrance to Hades, the land of the dead. He had to get in and out so called upon Eleusis to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. This also enabled him to absolve himself of killing the Centaurs. Helped by Artemis and Hermes, he managed to transverse the entrance in each direction at Tanaerum. Whilst in the underworld, he freed Theseus but could not free Pirithous. They had been sent to Hades in revenge for the kidnap of Persephone. As to how Hercules captured, there are different stories. One says he shot Hades and walked out with it, another he persuaded Hades and the third is that he treated the dog with kindness.There are no major meteor showers that radiate from within this constellation.
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Largest Star||Ras Algethi|
|Area||1225.148 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||2.97%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||9|
|Meteor Shower Count||12|
|Nearest Star||HIP 84140|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||14 Herculis|
|Furthest Star||HIP 83304|
|Bright Star Count||135|
|Hipparcos Star Count||3381|
|Main Star Count||16|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||2|
|*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count||1|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.
|Star||Distance (Lt. Yrs.)||Exoplanet Count||Declination||Right Ascension|
|HD 154345||60.63||1||+47d 04` 47.3||17h 02m 36.30|
|HD 155358||143.87||2||+33d 21` 23.0||17h 09m 34.77|
|HD 156668||79.82||1||+29d 13` 36.1||17h 17m 40.54|
|HD 158038||337.99||1||+27d 18` 12.5||17h 25m 45.40|
|HD 160508||301.17||1||+26d 45` 27.7||17h 39m 12.67|
|HD 164595||92.50||1||+29d 34` 17.4||18h 00m 38.99|
|HD 164922||72.14||2||+26d 18` 52.1||18h 02m 30.61|
As there's so many stars in the cosmos, not all the stars are listed here. The site has lots of stars not listed so if your star isn't listed and you know the Henry Draper or Hipparcos ID, type https://www.universeguide.com/star/ then followed by the HIPNNNNNN or HDNNNN where NNNNN is the number part of the name. The stars that I do list have either a traditional name, a bayer or other classification name.
|Star||Distance (Lt. Yrs.)||Declination||Right Ascension|
|10 Herculis||682.35||+23d 29` 41.4||16h 11m 38.05|
|100 Herculis||125.83||+26d 05` 50.2||18h 07m 49.51|
|100 Herculis B||161.79||+26d 06` 04.4||18h 07m 49.56|
|101 Herculis||328.79||+20d 02` 43.0||18h 08m 52.86|
|102 Herculis||916.19||+20d 48` 52.5||18h 08m 45.49|
|104 Herculis||544.51||+31d 24` 19.0||18h 11m 54.17|
|105 Herculis||973.62||+24d 26` 45.8||18h 19m 10.67|
|106 Herculis||392.02||+21d 57` 41.2||18h 20m 17.90|
|107 Herculis||263.03||+28d 52` 11.4||18h 21m 01.02|
|108 Herculis||183.24||+29d 51` 31.7||18h 20m 56.97|
|109 Herculis||118.95||+21d 46` 13.2||18h 23m 41.77|
|11 G. Her||533.82||+05d 16` 39.2||16h 37m 33.76|
|110 Herculis||62.65||+20d 32` 49.6||18h 45m 39.73|
|111 Herculis||94.24||+18d 10` 52.4||18h 47m 01.22|
|112 Herculis||405.68||+21d 25` 30.6||18h 52m 16.43|
|113 Herculis||472.02||+22d 38` 42.3||18h 54m 44.88|
|14 Herculis||57.31||+43d 49` 06.1||16h 10m 24.21|
|16 Herculis||347.72||+18d 48` 29.9||16h 15m 28.68|
|19 Herculis||442.56||+25d 53` 48.1||16h 18m 23.66|
|2 G. Her||356.46||+05d 54` 06.8||16h 14m 13.58|
|2 Herculis||653.63||+43d 08` 18.3||15h 54m 37.88|
|21 Herculis||366.48||+06d 56` 53.4||16h 24m 10.83|
|25 Herculis||242.86||+37d 23` 38.7||16h 25m 24.17|
|29 Herculis||351.09||+11d 29` 17.6||16h 32m 36.40|
|30 Herculis||354.14||+41d 52` 54.1||16h 28m 38.52|
|31 Herculis||410.79||+33d 30` 49.3||16h 31m 30.59|
|32 Herculis||556.59||+30d 29` 56.7||16h 33m 29.15|
|32 Ophiuchi||394.87||+14d 05` 31.6||17h 03m 07.86|
|33 Herculis||874.43||+07d 06` 25.9||16h 36m 51.65|
|33 Ophiuchi||250.32||+13d 36` 19.5||17h 03m 39.31|
|34 Herculis||330.79||+48d 57` 40.4||16h 30m 06.08|
|34 Ophiuchi||319.45||+13d 34` 03.9||17h 03m 58.03|
|36 Herculis||303.69||+04d 12` 26.0||16h 40m 35.15|
|37 Herculis||293.58||+04d 13` 11.3||16h 40m 38.69|
|38 Herculis||446.19||+04d 52` 18.8||16h 41m 30.20|
|39 Herculis||142.68||+26d 55` 01.2||16h 41m 36.70|
|4 Herculis||536.45||+42d 33` 58.1||15h 55m 30.61|
|41 Herculis||149.62||+06d 05` 19.6||16h 45m 00.11|
|42 Herculis||414.44||+48d 55` 41.8||16h 38m 44.89|
|43 Herculis||354.14||+08d 34` 57.3||16h 45m 49.89|
|45 Herculis||393.44||+05d 14` 48.6||16h 47m 46.43|
|46 Herculis||704.46||+28d 21` 28.3||16h 45m 05.24|
|47 Herculis||177.46||+07d 14` 51.7||16h 50m 19.35|
|48 Herculis||791.66||+29d 57` 52.3||16h 49m 15.32|
|48 Serpentis||405.17||+16d 39` 56.4||16h 11m 28.74|
|49 Herculis||404.67||+14d 58` 27.1||16h 52m 04.84|
|49 Serpentis||76.93||+13d 31` 40.5||16h 13m 18.34|
|5 Herculis||250.89||+17d 49` 04.9||16h 01m 14.35|
|50 Herculis||1069.39||+29d 48` 23.6||16h 50m 38.96|
|51 Herculis||698.42||+24d 39` 23.1||16h 51m 45.26|
|52 Herculis||180.20||+45d 59` 00.4||16h 49m 14.20|
|53 Herculis||95.20||+31d 42` 06.2||16h 52m 58.12|
|54 Herculis||391.55||+18d 25` 59.5||16h 55m 22.24|
|56 Herculis||446.19||+25d 43` 50.6||16h 55m 02.15|
|57 Herculis||552.82||+25d 21` 10.1||16h 57m 31.04|
|59 Herculis||322.30||+33d 34` 05.8||17h 01m 36.36|
|60 Herculis||133.29||+12d 44` 27.1||17h 05m 22.66|
|61 Herculis||749.80||+35d 24` 51.0||17h 03m 30.19|
|63 Herculis||268.45||+24d 14` 15.4||17h 11m 03.17|
|68 Herculis||665.64||+33d 06` 00.4||17h 17m 19.57|
|69 Herculis||175.45||+37d 17` 28.8||17h 17m 40.29|
|70 Herculis||427.47||+24d 29` 58.0||17h 20m 54.22|
|72 Herculis||46.73||+32d 28` 13.0||17h 20m 39.47|
|73 Herculis||139.27||+22d 57` 37.3||17h 24m 06.61|
|74 Herculis||557.54||+46d 14` 26.4||17h 20m 21.15|
|77 Herculis||375.76||+48d 15` 36.3||17h 26m 44.24|
|78 Herculis||267.57||+28d 24` 26.8||17h 31m 49.57|
|79 Herculis||250.13||+24d 18` 35.9||17h 37m 31.10|
|8 Herculis||318.83||+17d 12` 20.6||16h 08m 46.64|
|82 Herculis||353.37||+48d 35` 07.7||17h 36m 37.63|
|83 Herculis||405.68||+24d 33` 51.5||17h 42m 28.40|
|84 Herculis||127.41||+24d 19` 39.5||17h 43m 21.64|
|87 Herculis||211.93||+25d 37` 22.7||17h 48m 49.15|
|88 Herculis||950.91||+48d 23` 38.8||17h 50m 03.33|
|89 Herculis||4291.62||+26d 02` 59.9||17h 55m 25.19|
|9 Herculis||397.28||+05d 01` 16.0||16h 13m 15.41|
|90 Herculis||353.76||+40d 00` 28.2||17h 53m 18.02|
|93 Herculis||671.12||+16d 45` 03.4||18h 00m 03.42|
|95 Herculis||417.09||+21d 35` 44.5||18h 01m 30.40|
|96 Herculis||939.95||+20d 50` 01.1||18h 02m 23.05|
|97 Herculis||762.06||+22d 55` 23.7||18h 02m 30.16|
|98 Herculis||737.93||+22d 13` 08.0||18h 06m 01.91|
|99 Herculis||51.02||+30d 33` 42.7||18h 07m 01.61|
|AC Hercules||6154.03||+21d 52` 00.6||18h 30m 16.24|
|Chi Herculis||51.84||+42d 27` 00.0||15h 52m 40.19|
|Cujam||155.02||+30d 55` 34.8||17h 00m 17.41|
|Eta Herculis||108.65||+38d 55` 20.9||16h 42m 53.74|
|Gamma Herculis||192.65||+19d 09` 10.9||16h 21m 55.24|
|HR 6594||113.69||+15d 57` 07.8||17h 41m 58.64|
|Iota Herculis||454.90||+46d 00` 22.8||17h 39m 27.89|
|Kajam||250.13||+14d 02` 00.3||16h 25m 24.93|
|Kappa Herculis||2104.28||+17d 03` 16.0||16h 08m 04.97|
|Kappa Herculis B||367.72||+17d 02` 49.2||16h 08m 04.55|
|Kornephoros||139.15||+21d 29` 22.7||16h 30m 13.26|
|Maasym||369.38||+26d 06` 38.2||17h 30m 44.30|
|Mu Herculis||27.11||+27d 43` 21.0||17h 46m 27.72|
|N Herculis||385.99||+05d 31` 16.4||16h 32m 35.68|
|Nu Herculis||860.59||+30d 11` 21.4||17h 58m 30.15|
|Ogma||259.07||+38d 20` 49.8||16h 30m 29.68|
|Omicron Herculis||337.99||+28d 45` 44.9||18h 07m 32.55|
|OP Herculis||967.84||+45d 21` 03.3||17h 56m 48.51|
|Phi Herculis||203.98||+44d 56` 05.3||16h 08m 46.20|
|Pi Herculis||376.63||+36d 48` 33.0||17h 15m 02.85|
|Ras Algethi||359.61||+14d 23` 24.9||17h 14m 38.86|
|Rho Herculis||393.44||+37d 08` 45.3||17h 23m 40.97|
|Rukbalgethi Genubi||753.26||+37d 15` 01.9||17h 56m 15.18|
|Rutilicus||34.95||+31d 36` 06.8||16h 41m 17.48|
|Sarin||75.14||+24d 50` 22.5||17h 15m 01.92|
|Sigma Herculis||314.83||+42d 26` 12.8||16h 34m 06.19|
|Tau Herculis||307.41||+46d 18` 47.8||16h 19m 44.45|
|U Herculis||765.64||+18d 53` 33.0||16h 25m 47.48|
|Upsilon Herculis||371.48||+46d 02` 12.7||16h 02m 47.85|
|V1343 Herculis||384.63||+14d 57` 58.6||18h 25m 55.23|
|V451 Herculis||531.21||+14d 56` 59.0||17h 01m 33.05|
|V624 Herculis||477.55||+14d 24` 36.1||17h 44m 17.25|
|V636 Herculis||755.01||+42d 14` 20.3||16h 47m 19.74|
|V640 Herculis||620.08||+16d 55` 03.1||17h 25m 54.37|
|V642 Herculis||601.78||+14d 50` 30.4||17h 33m 42.77|
|V644 Herculis||253.04||+13d 37` 12.0||16h 55m 15.97|
|V656 Herculis||479.65||+18d 03` 26.0||17h 20m 18.87|
|V771 Herculis||425.80||+45d 28` 34.2||17h 58m 52.31|
|V773 Herculis||411.82||+15d 29` 51.1||16h 36m 42.95|
|V819 Herculis||241.25||+39d 58` 29.3||17h 21m 43.61|
|V822 Herculis||682.35||+13d 57` 56.4||18h 52m 01.93|
|V831 Herculis||200.84||+23d 56` 31.8||18h 04m 40.20|
|V959 Herculis||771.07||+27d 34` 00.5||17h 36m 21.42|
|V974 Herculis||1128.59||+19d 30` 20.8||18h 00m 27.65|
|X Herculis||446.80||+47d 14` 24.7||16h 02m 39.23|
|Xi Herculis||136.81||+29d 14` 52.5||17h 57m 45.83|
|M92 Globular Cluster||Globular Cluster||26.7||+43:08||17h 17m 1|
|NGC 6050 Interacting Spiral Galaxy||Interacting Spiral Galaxy||500 Million||17:44||16h 05|
|The Great Hercules Globular Cluster||Globular Cluster||22.2||+36:28||16h 41m 7|
|K||Light Orange Star 3,700 - 5,200k||1128|
|F||Yellow-White 6,000 - 7,500k||649|
|A||White 7,500 - 10,000k||576|
|G||Yellow 5,200 - 6,000k||570|
|M||Red Dwarf Star <3,700k||225|
|B||Blue-White 10,500 - 30,000k||110|
|Ib||Less Luminous Supergiant||3|
|sd||sd Type SubDwarf Star||5|
|S||S-Type Carbon Star||5|
|R||R-Type Carbon Star||4|
|C||C-Type Carbon Star||2|