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Are you the type of person who loves spending time outdoors looking up at the stars? If you are, then you have probably seen the constellation Lyra at some point.
Even if you’re not an astronomy enthusiast, you may have heard of it before, as it is part of the 88 constellations that were identified by the International Astronomical Union. It is also among the 48 listed constellations by Ptolemy in his work from the 2nd century, Almagest.
In this guide, I’m going to share with you some interesting facts about the Lyra constellation, as well as some myths and FAQs.
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What is the brightest star in the Lyra constellation? The answer is Vega, which is also the fifth brightest star in the entire night sky.
It has a visual magnitude of 0.03, making it easily visible to the naked eye. As such, it has been used as a navigational star by sailors for centuries.
Vega has long been associated with the legend of Hercules, as it is located in the hero’s chest area. In Greek mythology, Lyra represents the stringed instrument that Hercules used to slay the nine-headed hydra.
Discovered in 1850, Vega is actually a fairly young star at only about 455 million years old. It is about two times the mass of our Sun and about 25 times more luminous. This means that it is burning through its fuel much faster than our Sun and will only have a lifespan of about 1 billion years.
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Also known as Beta Lyrae, Sheliak is one of the brighter stars in the constellation Lyra. It is a binary star system consisting of a blue giant star and a white dwarf star.
First discovered in 1784 by John Goodricke, Sheliak is one of the closer binary star systems to Earth, located about 430 light-years away.
The name Sheliak comes from the Arabic word for “the harp”, which is what Lyra represents. Watchers can see Sheliak as the brightest star in the “neck” of the harp.
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Next up on our list of interesting Lyra constellation facts is the star Sulafat. It’s one of the brighter stars in the constellation, and it’s also one of the stars with the highest proper motion. This means that it appears to move across the sky more rapidly than other stars. Sulafat is a yellow giant star that is about 620 light years from Earth.
Sulafat was first discovered in 1857 by Charles Messier. He observed it while searching for comets, and he included it in his catalog of comet-like objects (which is now known as the Messier Catalogue).
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R Lyrae is the prototype of a class of stars known as RR Lyrae variables. These are old, low-mass stars that pulsate in brightness over time. The name “RR Lyrae” comes from the fact that these types of stars were first identified in the constellation Lyra.
It’s about 350 light-years away from Earth and is one of the brightest stars in its class. What’s more, it’s believed to be part of a much larger stellar grouping called the Cygnus OB2 association. This star is also particularly interesting because it’s thought to have a companion star that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
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Officially known as Epsilon Lyrae, the Double Double is one of the most interesting and easily recognizable constellations in the night sky. As its name suggests, it is actually two binary stars that appear to be double stars.
. All four stars are similar in size and temperature, which is why they appear to be the same color to us.
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Also known as NGC 6779, Messier 56 is a cluster in Lyra. It was first discovered in 1779 by French astronomer Charles Messier.
This cluster is about 33,000 light-years from Earth and has a diameter of about 95 light-years. It is one of the brighter globular clusters in the sky, with an apparent magnitude of 9.4.
The name “Lyra” is derived from the Greek word for lyre, a stringed musical instrument that was associated with the god Apollo.
The constellation contains some of the brightest stars in the sky, including Vega, which is the fifth brightest star in the night sky. Vega is also part of a group of stars known as the Summer Triangle asterism. It also belongs to two other bright stars, Altair and Deneb.
Lyra is among a group of stars that form an imaginary shape in the night sky. The constellation is named after the Greek instrument, the lyre.
There are about 100 stars in the constellation Lyra.
The brightest star in Lyra is Vega, which is also one of the brightest stars in the night sky.
There are several myths associated with the Lyra constellation, including the story of Orpheus and Hercules.
Some interesting facts about the Lyra constellation include that it contains the star Vega, which is one of the brightest stars in the night sky.
Additionally, the constellation Lyra is home to one of the most famous double stars, called HD 98618. Finally, the constellation also contains a variable star, R Lyrae, which is used to measure distance.
Lyra is one of the most interesting and storied constellations in the night sky. Though it may not be as large or bright as some of its neighbors, it has a long history and contains some of the most famous stars and objects in the sky.
Featured Image Credit: dore art, Shutterstock
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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