Lyra the Lyre


Lyra the harp is said to be the magic harp that was given to Orpheus by Mercury or Apollo. The music of Orpheus charmed every person or animal, and most of all, the beautiful nymph Eurydice, whom Orpheus married. When she died, Orpheus was so grief stricken that even Pluto took pity on him. Pluto offered Orpheus the chance to carry Eurydice out of Hades and have her once again. The only condition was that Orpheus must not gaze at his beloved until he was out of the underworld. This he could not do, and once he turned his eyes upon her, she vanished and he never saw her again. After Orpheus died, Jupiter placed his harp in the sky.

For the Observer

The Stars of Summer

Alpha Lyrae, Vega (18h37m +38°47') has a magnitude of 0.0 and is a blue-white class A0 star about 26 light years distant. In mid-northern latitudes, it is visible at some point of the night, every night of the year.

Beta Lyrae, Sheliak (18h48m.2 +33°18') is a variable star ranging in magnitude from 3.4 to 4.3 over a period of 12.91 days. The system consists of two bright stars which revolve around each other.

Gamma Lyrae (18h57m.1 +32°37') has a magnitude of 3.25 and is a class B9 star about 370 light years distant. The star has an optical companion of magnitude 12.

Delta Lyrae (18h52m +36°54') is a double star system. The primary has a magnitude of 5.5 and is a class B2 star. The companion has a magnitude of 4.5 and is a class M4 star. The pair are at a distance of about 800 light years.

M57 (NGC 6720) (18h51m.7 +32°58') is the famous Ring Nebula and is probably the best known of the planetary nebulae. The distance is about 4100 light years and has a magnitude of 9.

Copyright © 1995 - 2003
Kathy Miles, Author, and Chuck Peters, Systems Administrator