Hydra, spanning 1303 square degrees of the sky, is the largest constellation. Hydra is located in the skies of the southern hemisphere and was first named by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century.
Hydra is part of the Hercules family of constellations. Despite its large size, the constellation has very few prominent features. Alphard is a second magnitude star and the brightest object in the constellation. Hydra also contains two magnitude 3 yellow giant stars. The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, which is one of the closest and brightest barred spiral galaxies in the sky, can be found situated between Hydra and Centaurus.Learn More
A red giant star ranges from 62 million to 621 million miles in diameter, or 100 to 1,000 times the size of the sun. However, red giants have cooler temperatures than the sun because the energy travels over a larger surface area.Full Answer >
There are three brightest stars in the Aries constellation are Alpha Arietis, Beta Arietis, and Gamma Arietis. Alpha Arietis, which is also known as Hamal, is the brightest out of the three, and is referred to as the orange giant. It is 66 light-years away from Earth, and has an orbiting planet that has a greater mass than the planet Jupiter.Full Answer >
People typically refer to groups of stars in a pattern as constellations, but the accurate term is asterism; scientists refer to actual groups of stars as clusters and group individual stars by light magnitude. Because constellations are the standard observation grouping, astronomers refer to constellations when naming stars.Full Answer >
Constellations came from the imaginations of people who looked up at the stars and saw patterns that they ascribed to their gods, goddesses, heroes and figures from their mythologies. Although scientists don't know who the very first people to set up constellations were, there are indications that at least a handful of constellations were in place as early as 4000 B.C.Full Answer >