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Lyra, The Lyra Constellation Facts and Mythology

Lyra Constellation Star Map

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. Lyra is the 52nd largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation 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.

There are 5 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 938 stars. There are 37 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

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 distance to Lyra is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Lyra is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

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.

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.

The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.

Lyra Star Facts

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.

IO Lyrae, Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is IO Lyrae and it is 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.

HD 175635, Dimmest Visible Star

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.

Vega

Vega or Alpha Lyrae is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and also one of the most famous. Vega is an egg/oval shaped star like Regulus but unlike Regulus, there are no companion stars orbiting it. It shaped is possibly due to its spin.

Lyra Mythology

There's no real legend behind this one but it maybe one of the Stymphalian birds that Hercules had to kill as part of his twelve labours. Not entirely sure. The most interesting things about the constellation is Vega and the Lyrids meteor shower.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Lyra

There are 9 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
LyridsApril 16-25Apr. 22Vega
Eta LyridsMay 03 - May 12 May 09Aladfar
June LyridsJune 10-21 Jun. 15/16  

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
Brightest StarVega
Dimmest StarHD 175635
Furthest StarIO Lyrae
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.



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


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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.