Lyra: The Lyre

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Lyra, The Lyre

Lyra as depicted by Johann Bayer in his Uranometria (1603). Source image provided by www.RareMaps.com — Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.

Lyra Constellation Profile
Abbreviation: Lyr Genitive: Lyrae Origin: Ancient
Location: Northern Hemisphere Size/Area: 286 sq. deg. Size Rank: 52
On Meridian: 9pm August 15th Best View (North): Summer Best View (South):
Bordering Constellations: Draco, Hercules, Vulpecula, Cygnus

 

The Myth Behind the Constellation Lyra

Lyra, “The Lyre” is the musical instrument invented by Hermes.  It was given to Apollo who later gave it to his son Orpheus.  Orpheus became so skilled at playing it that birds, beasts, trees, rivers and rocks would gather to hear him. Women were especially captivated, but he was passionately in love with his wife, Eurydice.  When she died, he traveled to the underworld and with his song convinced Hades to let him take her back to the world of the living.  In the end he lost her a second time.  Heartbroken and still in love with his wife, he was eventually killed by a group of young women he had refused.  He was finally reunited with his wife and Zeus put his lyre in the sky.

Lyra Constellation Points of Interest

Interesting Objects in the Constellation Lyra
Name Messier NGC Type Visibility
M56 NGC 6779 Globular Cluster Binoculars
Ring Nebula M57 NGC 6720 Planetary Nebula Binoculars

 

Bright Stars in Lyra

These are the stars in Lyra with a minimum magnitude of 3.0.

Name Bayer Name Magnitude Color Luminosity Distance
Vega Alpha Lyrae 0.03  White 61 suns 25 ly