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Nothing but the Facts About the Constellation Libra

written by: Jason C. Chavis•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 7/27/2011

The constellation Libra is a faint collection of stars positioned between Virgo and Scorpius. Named Libra because of its resemblance to scales, its brightest stars come together to form a quadrangle. Libra is also represented as one of the signs of the Zodiac.

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    A mythological image of the scales (Image credit: Fulcanelli at Wikimedia Commons in the public doman,

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    Below: This photo of the constellation Libra shows, enlarged in their true color, the main "nake eye" stars that make up the shape of the constellation. (Image courtesy of

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    Below: A constellation map of Libra (Image credit: Torsten Bronger at Wikimedia Commons,, GNU Free Documentation license.)

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    Below: Zodiac symbol for Libra (Image credit: Tlust'a at Wikimedia Commons,, GNU Free Documentation license.)

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    1. Image of: A scale

    2. Right ascension: 15 h

    3. Declination: - 15 degrees

    4. Quadrant: SQ3

    5. Latitudes visible at: Between +65 degrees and -90 degrees

    6. Time best visible: June

    7. Area of sky covered: 538 square degrees

    8. Rank in constellation size: 29th

    9. Stars: Alpha Librae (Zubenelgenubi), Beta Librae (Zubeneschamali), Gamma Librae (Zubenelakrab), Sigma Librae (Brachium), Theta Librae, Tau Librae, Upsilon Librae, 48 Lib, HD 135051, HD 133670, HD 134700, HD 135207, HD 131977

    10. Other objects in the constellation: NGC 5897 (Globular Cluster)

    11. Brightest star: Gamma Librae (Zubenelakrab, with a magnitude of 2.6)

    12. Nearest star: HD 131977, about 19.3 light years away

    13: Meteor showers: May Librids (May 1 to 9, with a peak on May 6)

    14. Mythology: Libra originally formed a portion of the claws of Scorpio. It's the only Zodiac to not represent a living creature. According to Greek mythology, Libra is said to depict the scales held by Astaea, the goddess of justice.

    15. Historical significance: Originally representing the claws of a scorpion, the Mesopotamians hung a scale's arm and pans without a stand. Instead, they tied the midpoint of the arm with a string resembling a scorpion hung by its tail.

    16. Symbolic significance: The star Gamma Librae's is derived from the Arabic zubānā (meaning both “weighing scale” and “scorpion”).

    17. Position in the Zodiac: Seventh

    18. Traits associated with Libra in astrology: diplomatic, romantic, indecisive, gullible

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    The “green” star: Many observers of Beta Librae claim that the white star appears as a shade of green. Scientists have deemed that a star can only appear green when close companions of red stars; however, since Beta Librae does not fit into this category, observers are left to make their own judgments.

    Modern measurement: The word 'libra' is responsible for our abbreviation of the pound weight, "lb." Scales were used to measure a pound of salt, a Roman soldier's pay. The British symbol for pound is also derived from the word.

    Libra in literature: Chaucer mentions Libra in his “Prologue to the Parson's Tale.” Alluding to Christ's Passion, Libra ascends as the pilgrims near their destination.

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    Constellation Libra: "The Scales",

    Libra: Mythology and History,