Libra Constellations: Facts & Myths

The Libra is another constellation of the zodiac. It has a Latin name which means weighing scales. It has no magnitude stars. It has no first magnitude of stars and lies between the Virgo between the West and the Scorpio to the East. Libra was known as the balance or also known as the Claws of the Scorpion. The scales are being held sacred to the God of Sun, who is also considered to be the patron of truth and justice. The constellation libra is the only sign which has not been represented by an animal or a character from the mythology. Libra symbolises balance, fairness and law.

Location:  Constellation Libra occupies an area of 538 square degrees and it is considered to be the 29th constellation in size. It is located in the third quadrant of the Southern Hemisphere. Libra has no Messier objects but it does have three stars with known planets.

Myth: it has been said that when Rome was founded the moon was located in Libra. The Romans consider Libra to be a favoured constellation. It has been associated with the balancing of the seasons and has an equal length of the day and night.

Some of the major stars in constellation Libra: there are about 83 stars in the Libra constellation,

  • Zubeneschamali (Beta Librae) : Beta Librae is considered the brightest star in constellation Librae. It has a magnitude of 2.61. it is also a blue-white dwarf, and also is a very fast spinner. Beta Librae has a rotational velocity of 250km/s. It is 130 times more luminous than the sun. It has been classified as a single star but there are some small periodic variations that are seen in the luminosity which indicates the presence of a companion star.
  • Zubenelgenubi (Alpha Librae) : it is said to be the second largest star in constellation Libra. A multiple star system whose two brightest components form a binary star, through space a common proper motion is shared.
  • Brachium (Sigma Librae) : Brachium is a red giant star with a magnitude of 3.29. it has a single pulsation period for 20 days and is a semi regular variable star. Small variations in magnitude are exhibited 0.10 to 0.15 over short periods of 15 to 20 minutes every three hours or so.
  • Methuselah – HD 140283

It is the oldest star in the universe which has been created shortly. It is a poor metal sub giant star consisting mostly of hydrogen and helium gases. The content of iron is less than 1% than that of the sun. The estimated age of the star is 14.46 billion years old. The star has been rapidly passing through the local stellar neighbourhood.  From the galactic halo that has the population of the ancient stars the orbit of the star carries it through the plane of the galaxy.  The HD 140283 has a magnitude of 7.223.

  • Upsilon Librae : considered to be an orange giant star, with a magnitude of 3.91 and is about 71 times more luminous than the sun.
  • Tau Librae : it is a blue-white dwarf. It has a magnitude of 3.66 and the star is 3.2 times the radius of the sun.
  • Gamma Librae : gamma librae is an orange giant with a magnitude of 3.91 and is about 71 times more luminous than the sun.
  • Theta Librae: the theta librae is an orange giant with a visual magnitude of 4.136 and its mass is 84 percent greater than the sun and is 35 times more luminous.
  • Lota Librae: The lota-1 system consists of a pair, two tenth and 11th magnitude class of the G Lota librae is a stellar classification.  It has a magnitude of 4.54.
  • Gliese 581 ( HO Librae) : The Gliese  581 or the HO Librae is a red dwarf star with a magnitude that will range from 10.56 to 10.58. it is considered to be the 89th closest star to the sun and it consists of only a third of the suns mass and 0.2 percent of its visual luminosity. This star lies about two degrees North, of the constellations brightest star. The stars exhibiting variations in luminosity is a result of rotation coupled with the spots of the stars.
  • 23 Librae : 23 Librae is considered to be a yellow dwarf star with the stellar classification of G5 V.

Some deep sky objects in constellation Libra:

  • NGC 5792: it is another spiral barred galaxy in constellation Libra. It has a magnitude of 12.1.
  • NGC 5897 : it is considered to be a large globular cluster in libra constellation with a magnitude of 9.

How can you locate a libra?

It is very simple, first you have to locate the brightest star Arcturus in the constellation of the Scorpious and then you can follow the line that points towards the West.  Three bright stars form a triangle, with its two corners being extended into parallel lines, this is how you can locate the Libra.

Which months are the best to see the Libra?

In the Northern Hemisphere libra is seen between April and July and in the Southern hemisphere it can be spotted in the autum and winter months.

Libra can be seen in both the Northern hemisphere as well as the Southern hemisphere.  For the people who live in the Northern Hemisphere seeing a Libra is best during the midnights of April, it appears very low on the south eastern horizon moving cross the southern hemisphere until evening.  Further in the months of May to July the constellation will be be seen in the south east sky. In the Southern Hemisphere the libra can be seen in April in the eastern night sky around 10 pm slowing moving further higher over head. In the months of May, June and July the libra can be earlier spotted at around 8 pm.  During the months of august and September you can see higher in the western high sky at around 8 pm.