The Hero in the Sky
1. Symbolism: Heracles (Greek) or Hercules (Roman mythological hero adapted from the Greek Heracles)
2. Right ascension: 17 hour
3. Declination: +30 degrees
4. Latitudes visible at: between +90 degrees and -50 degrees
5. The best time to view: During the month of July at 21:00 (9:00 PM)
6. Area of sky: 1225 square degrees
7. Nearest star: GJ 661 (20.9 light years away)
8. Brightest star: Beta herculis (2.8 visual magnitude)
9. Constellations bordering Hercules: Aquila, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Draco, Lyra, Ophiuchus, Serpens Caput, Sagitta, Vulpecula
10. Stars in the constellation: Mu Herculis, Alpha Herculis (Ras Algethi), beta Herculis, Pi Herculis, Zeta Herculis, Kappa Herculis, Rho Herculis, S Herculis
11. Other objects in the constellation: M13 (NGC 6205), M92 (NGC 6341),
12: Meteor showers: Tau Herculids. It occurs from May 19- June 19.
13. Mythology: The Hercules constellation is identified with Hercules/Heracles (Greeks), son of Alcmene and Zeus. It bears the Roman name ‘Hercules’ of the Greek Heracles. Hercules was known for his heroisms and fearlessness. The legendary “Twelve Labors" or tasks assigned to Hercules by King Euristeus are always remembered as a great mythical story. Hercules built a funeral pile on Mount Eta, thus destroying his mortal body. His soul joined with other gods and Zeus put Hercules’ constellation in the sky.
14. Who Discovered the Constellation Hercules? Hercules was indexed by Ptolemy as one of the 48 constellation in his Almageste. The constellation was also known as the Greek Engonasin in the Rudolphine Tables, which means “the kneeler."
[Image Courtesy: Johannes Hevelius 1690 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hercules_Hevelius.jpg]