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Lyra, The Lyra Constellation

Lyra (Pronounciation:Lie-rah, Abbrev:Lyr, Latin:Lyrae) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Lyra takes up 286.476 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 0.69% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Lyra . 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.

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

The brightest star in Lyra is Vega. There are 867 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Lyra. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Lyra Star List Page.

Lyra Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Lyra is 938. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 37. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 5.

There are 2 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 Vega which is roughly about 25.05 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 176051 which is about 48.51 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 90053 which is located about 326163.3 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 Lyra with the naked eye is HD 175635. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.99. 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.

Maybe one of the Stymphalian birds that Hercules had to kill as part of his twelve labours. Not entirely sure.

Meteor Showers

There are 9 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Gamma LeonidsAug 14-Sept 12Aug. 25/26Algieba

Lyra Facts


NameLyra
AbbreviationLyr
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarVega
Area286.476 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky0.69%
Size Position52nd
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count867
Meteor Shower Count9
Nearest StarVega
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 176051
Dimmest StarHD 175635
Furthest StarHIP 90053
Bright Star Count37
Hipparcos Star Count938
Main Star Count5
Messier Deep Space Object Count2
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsDraco
Hercules
Vulpecula
Cygnus

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


Lyra Constellation Map


Lyra 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 Lyra


NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Messier 56 (NGC6779)Globular Cluster32900+30:1119h 16m 6
Ring Nebula (M57, NGC6720)Supernova Remnant1.6-3.8 kly+33:0218h 53m 6

Meteor Showers

Gamma Leonids Meteor Shower


Max Activity Date25 Aug
Activity PeriodAug 14-Sept 12
Right Ascension10
Declination20
Alpha Radiant10


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BobTuesday, 31st May 2016 3:18:08 AM
According to Roman legend, Lyra represents the lyre (Harp like instrument) that Orpheus, son of Apollo (Hermes) and famous musician, played. He left people, beasts, and even inanimate objects awestruck by the music he played. When his wife died of a snake bite, Orpheus took to the underworld to retrieve her. When he played there for Pluto (Hades) and Proserpina (Persephone) Pluto offered him a deal whereas he and his wife, Eurydice, could leave on one condition. Orpheus couldn’t look back at his wife until he had reached the surface. Nearing the top, the anxious Orpheus couldn’t bear not seeing his wife and, knowing not whether or not his wife was struggling, he looked back and lost her. Devastated, he lived a depressed life until the women, furious that he rejected them for small boys, stoned and dismembered him. As a testament to him, Jupiter then put his Lyre in the sky.