The Constellation Hydra, the Sea Serpent
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Hydra is the longest constellation in the sky and is also the largest
in terms of area. It is so long that it takes more than six hours to
rise completely. Along its northern side, we can observe the
zodiacal signs of Cancer
The stars in the serpent's head appear to be at the same distance but
they are really very far away from each other. The northernmost of
the six stars in the head of the serpent, Epsilon Hydrae, is a
quintuple star - a system of five stars. Alphard (Arabic for "the
solitary one") is Hydra's brightest star.
In Greek mythology, Hercules
slew Hydra, a horrible serpent with many heads that grew back as soon
as they were cut off. Killing the Hydra was one of Hercules' twelve
labors, during which he also defeated Leo, the
lion, and Draco, the dragon.
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