The Lyre

Fully Visible:42°S – 90°N

In Greek mythology, this constellation is associated with the lyre or harp of Orpheus, legendary musician, poet and prophet. In older star atlases, the lyre is often portrayed as being gripped in the talons of an eagle or vulture.

The first magnitude star Vega forms an asterism, the 'Summer Triangle', with two other first magnitude stars, Altair and Deneb.

The constellation of Lyra

Notable Features

Visible Named Stars
α Lyr Vega This first magnitude star forms one part of the asterism known as the 'Summer Triangle'. Because of axial precession, it also takes a turn as the north polar star. It held that position about 12000 years ago and will resume that job in another 14000 years. It sometimes appears as Wega in older star atlases and catalogues.
β Lyr Sheliak This is a double star when viewed through a small telescope.
γ Lyr Sulafat This third-magnitude object is actually the second-brightest star in the constellation.
η Lyr Aladfar The name of this fourth-magnitude star means 'talons of the swooping vulture' in Arabic.
HD 173416 Xihe This sixth-magnitude G-type star, located directly south of ζ¹ Lyr, is known to have at least one exoplanet.
Other Interesting Stars
RR Lyr Although this star has no common name, it is a famous variable star and the prototype of an entire class of objects called RR Lyrae stars. RR Lyrae stars are found mostly in globular clusters.
HAT‑P‑5 Chasoň This twelfth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet. It is located near κ Lyr.
M56 The globular cluster is a challenging binocular object but a medium-size telescope will resolve it.
M57 Ring Nebula A small telescope will show a small, fuzzy ellipse but larger apetures should reveal the ring-like structure.
Meteor Shower Radiants
006 LYR Lyrids Confusingly, the radiant for the Lyrid meteor shower lies just inside the border of the neighbouring constellation Hercules.
145 ELY ε Lyrids This minor shower is associated with Comet C/1983 H1 IRAS-Araki-Alcock and is active during the first half of May.