Name a Star for Someone in the Hydra Constellation

November 15, 2022

International Star Registry

NASA Image of Hydra Constellation_International Star Registry

A water serpent, probably so named because it wanders just about everywhere in a space of more than 100 degrees in length. It is the largest constellation on the Celestial Sphere. It lies south of Cancer, Leo and Virgo, and reaches almost from Canis Minor to Libra.

The constellation is best viewed from the southern hemisphere, but parts can be viewed from the US and Southern Europe to the northern edge of Antarctica.

Hydra has only one significant star. Then known as “Alphard” or “the solitary one”, it is the heart of the sea snake. It is an orange 2 magnitude star just below the configuration of the snake’s nose and head. Hydra is best viewed from February to May.

The astrologers of the east, in dividing the celestial unknown into various compartments, assigned a popular and allegorical meaning to each. Thus, the sign Leo, which passes the meridian about midnight when the sun is in Pisces, was called the House of the Lions, Leo being the house of the Sun.

The constellations neighboring Hydra are Antlia, Cancer, Canis Minor, Centaurus, Corvus, Crater, Leo, Libra, Lupus, Monoceros, Puppis, Pyxis, Sextans and Virgo.

Symbol: Hya
Right Ascension: 10:18
Declination: -14
Diameter (°): 56
Area (square °): 1303
Opposition: Feb 21
Size Rank: 1st
Brightness Rank: 24th
Genitive: Hydrae

Major or notable stars in Hydra
Alphard – α Hydrae (Alpha Hydrae)
γ Hydrae (Gamma Hydrae)
ζ Hydrae (Zeta Hydrae)
β Hydrae (Beta Hydrae)
27 Hydrae
Minchir – σ Hydrae (Sigma Hydrae)
R Hydrae
V Hydrae
ε Hydrae (Epsilon Hydrae)
ν Hydrae (Nu Hydrae)
π Hydrae (Pi Hydrae)
δ Hydrae (Delta Hydrae)

Deep Sky Objects in Hydra
Messier 48 (M48, NGC 2548)
Messier 48, image: NASA
Messier 68 (M68, NGC 4590)
Hydra Cluster
Southern Pinwheel Galaxy – Messier 83 (M83, NGC 5236)
Ghost of Jupiter – NGC 3242 (Caldwell 59)
NGC 3109
NGC 3621
Tombaugh’s Globular Cluster – NGC 5694 (Caldwell 66)
NGC 3054
ESO 510-G13 (PGC 49473)
NGC 5078
NGC 3314
NGC 4980

Mythology of the Constellation Hydra

There are several stories associated with Hydra. The Ancient Babylonians saw Hydra as a Lion, bird and serpent, or as Bashmu the venomous snake.

The Lernean Hydra was a terrible monster fathered by Typhon the multi-headed dragon and Echina who was half woman and half snake. He was said to inhabit the entrance to the underworld. Even his blood and scent were poisonous.

Unlike Typhon, who had up to 100 heads, Hydra was said to have 9. Later, the poet Simonides credited the creature with having 50 heads. Only one of these heads was immortal and that is the head depicted images of the constellation.

Like his fearsome father, as soon as one head was cut off of Hydra, two immediately replaced it if the wound wasn’t cauterized by fire.

Destroying this terrifying monster was the second of Hercules’ great labors. Iolaus, the nephew of Hercules, lent a hand by applying a burning iron to the wounds as soon as Hercules cut one of the heads off.

During the battle, Juno, jealous of the glory Hercules was accumulating, sent Cancer, the sea-crab to bite off his foot. Hercules did in the sea-crab as well (no big deal after a few hydra heads), thwarting Juno’s attempts to lessen his fame.

This fable of the many-headed hydra may represent nothing more than the fact that the marshes of Lerna were infested with a multitude of serpents, which seemed to multiply as fast as they were destroyed. The story of the Hydra lends more drama to the myth of Hercules.

  • Q. How many prominent stars are in Hydra?

  • A. It contains seven named stars.
  • Q. What is Hydra?

  • A. Hydra, the water snake, is the largest constellation in the sky.
  • Q. What is the brightest star in Hydra?

  • A. Alpha Hydrae is the brightest star in the Hydra constellation