History of the Constellations

Stars and Constellations

Hydra

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Contents of this page: | Description | Skylore | Modern Culture | Origin and History | Star Clusters | Galaxies | Submit new info... |

Images (at bottom of page): | Hydra Chart: (Figure 1) | Hyginus, 1482, page F4r: (Figure 2) | Bayer, 1661, page zUU: (Figure 3) | Bayer, 1697, page N3r: (Figure 4) | Bayer, 1697, page N3v: (Figure 5) | Bayer, 1697, page N4r: (Figure 6) | Bode, 1801, page l: (Figure 7) | Bode, 1801, page r: (Figure 8) | Bode, 1801, page l: (Figure 9) | Bode, 1801, page l: (Figure 10) | Bode, 1801, page r: (Figure 11) | Aspin, 1825, page Hydra: (Figure 12) | Images digitized by Hannah Magruder.

Constellation Data

Description

The largest and longest of the constellations, stretching from Cancer to Libra. Its brightest star is Alphard, with an orangish tint. Two constellations ride it, Crater (cup) and Corvus (crow).

Skylore and Literature

Hercules was sent to kill Hydra, a sea monster which possessed the terrifying ability, whenever a head was cut off, to grow two heads in its place.

Cicero, De natura deorum, II.110, trans. of Phenomena by Aratos of Soli (ca. 220 B.C.):

Here Hydra rises from the nether realms, | And in her midmost coil the Wine-bowl (Crater) gleams, | While pressing at her tail the feathered Crow (Corvus) | Pecks with his beak; and here, hard by the Twins, | The Hound’s forerunner, in Greek named Prokyon.

Modern Culture

Origin and History

Hydra is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

Star Clusters

M48 (Galactic cluster), mag. 6.0.

M68 (Globular cluster), mag. 8.2.

Galaxies

M83 (Spiral galaxy), mag. 7.6.

Submit new info...

Many excellent websites provide a variety of information about constellations for amateur astronomers and telescope users (see sidebar links for a few of these). These constellation pages are not intended to duplicate those efforts, but are devoted to two aims: First, they are intended to assist the beginning skywatcher, including students in history of science survey courses, in becoming familiar with Basic Celestial Phenomena (BCP). Second, these pages are devoted to the history of the constellations and the history of astronomy. They are intended to serve as a repository for collaborative use and reference. Do you have additional historical information about the stars or constellation described on this page? Please submit additional information to kmagruder@ou.edu. Submissions will be attributed. Editors for historical information are Kerry Magruder, JoAnn Palmeri, Peter Barker, and Laura Gibbs.

Oklahoma History of Science exhibits: http://hos.ou.edu/exhibits/. Page revised 4/15/04

Bad links, misplaced images, or questions? Contact Kerry Magruder. Thank you.

"If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown. But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile." R. W. Emerson, Nature

Images

Figure 1 Figure 1 - Return to Text

Hya Chart
Figure 2 Figure 2 - Return to Text

Hyginus, 1482

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Figure 3 Figure 3 - Return to Text

Bayer, 1661

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Bayer, 1697

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Bayer, 1697

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Bayer, 1697

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Bode, 1801

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Bode, 1801

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Figure 9 Figure 9 - Return to Text

Bode, 1801

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Bode, 1801

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Bode, 1801

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Aspin, 1825

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Exhibit credit: Kerry Magruder.

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These teaching resources provided by the History of Science Department at the University of Oklahoma.

Unless otherwise indicated, all images courtesy History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries. Image Terms of Use.

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