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Hydra, The Water Monster Constellation

Hydra (Pronounciation:Hi-dra, Abbrev:Hya, Latin:Hydrae) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Hydra takes up 1302.844 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 3.16% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Water Monster . 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.

Hydra is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Hydra is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.

The brightest star in Hydra is Alphard. There are 32 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Hydra. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Hydra is W Hydrae. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Hydra Star List Page.

Hydra Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Hydra is 3038. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 121. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 21.

There are 3 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.

Stars of Interest

The nearest star to Earth is Wise 0855-0714 which is roughly about 7.27 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 90156 which is about 72.9 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 43653 which is located about 108721.1 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 Hydra with the naked eye is HD 100623. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.96. 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.

Size and Location of Hydra

Hydra is the undefeated largest constellation in the sky by area. It accounts for just over 3% which might seem a small amount but you need to take into account it is one of 88 constellations so it takes up more than its fair share of space. Hydra is a southern constellation lying south of the equator.

Items of Interest in Hydra

The constellation is home to a number of interesting variable stars, V Hydra, a variable star that is one of the brightest of its type at an apparent magnitude of 7, it is visible with a pair of binoculars away from all light polution. The other interesting variables are U Hydrae and R Hydrae.

Legend of the Constellation

Hydra was a multi-headed sea creature that inhabited the lake near Lerna in the Argoid. It was alleged the lake had an entrance to the Underworld which it guarded. When one head was chopped off, another two would grow in its place. The only way of killing it was to chop off its head and setting fire to the severed neck. Hercules would chop off the head and Iolaus, a companion would set fire. During the fight, Hera set Cancer the crab to make things harder for Hercules.

There are no major meteor showers that radiate from within this constellation.

Hydra Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Largest StarW Hydrae
Brightest StarAlphard
Area1302.844 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky3.16%
Size Position1st
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count32
Meteor Shower Count16
Nearest StarWise 0855-0714
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 90156
Dimmest StarHD 100623
Furthest StarHIP 43653
Bright Star Count121
Hipparcos Star Count3038
Main Star Count21
Messier Deep Space Object Count3
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCrater
Canis Minor

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

Hydra Constellation Map

Hydra Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Hydra

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Messier 48 (NGC2548)Globular Cluster1500-05:4808h 13m 8
Messier 68 (NGC4590)Globular Cluster33600-26:4512h 39m 5
Messier 83 (NGC5236)Spiral Galaxy14700000-29:5213h 37m 0
NGC 4993Elliptical or Lenticular Galaxy130 Million LY-23d 23` 413h 09m 47m 2

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