LYRA (lī´-ra)—THE LYRE.
Location.—Lyra may be easily distinguished because of the brilliant Vega, its brightest star, which is situated about 12° southwest of the Dragon’s head. It is unmistakable, as it is the brightest star in this region of the heavens, and the third brightest in this latitude. In July and August Vega is close to the zenith in the early evening.
The six bright stars in Lyra form an equilateral triangle on one corner of a rhomboid. A very characteristic figure.
ε is a pretty double for an opera-glass, and a 3″ glass reveals the duplicity of each star of this pair. ε is therefore a double double.
ζ is a double for a good glass.
β is a variable, changing from magnitude 3.4 to 4.4 in twelve days. At its brightest it is about equal to its near neighbor γ Lyræ.
The noted ring nebula lies between β and γ. A 3″ glass reveals it but a powerful telescope is required to render its details visible.
If the distance from the earth to the sun equalled one inch, the distance from the earth to Vega would be 158 miles.
Vega was the first star to be photographed, in 1850. It is visible at some hour every clear night, and has been called the arc-light of the sky. Its light has the bluish-white hue that suggests “a diamond in the sky.”
The spectroscope reveals that Vega is a star probably only in its infancy, as hydrogen is its predominating element.