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Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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24Hydra, The Water Snake

NAME: Hydra (HYE-druh)

SEASON: Winter

CULMINATION: midnight, 9 February

ABBREVIATION: Hya

GENITIVE: Hydrae (HYE-dry)

NEIGHBORS: Ant, Cen, CMi, Cnc, Crt, Crv, Leo, Lib, Lup, Mon, Pup, Pyx, Sex, Vir

BINOCULAR OBJECTS: NGC 2548 (M 48), NGC 4590 (M 68), NGC 5236 (M 83)

URBAN OBJECTS: NGC 2548 (M 48), NGC 3242

Hydra is the largest constellation, just edging out second-place Virgo. Hydra covers 1,303 square degrees of the celestial sphere, or about 3.2%. Despite its size, Hydra has few bright stars. At magnitude 1.99, 30-α (alpha) Hydrae, also known as Alphard, is Hydra’s brightest star. Hydra is home to only six third magnitude stars, scattered across its huge extent. All other stars in Hydra are fourth magnitude or dimmer. ...

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