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07/06/2021 – Ephemeris – Looking at the constellation of Lyra the harp

July 6, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 26 minutes, setting at 9:30, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:05. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 3:56 tomorrow morning.

High in the east at 11 p.m. can be found a bright star just above a small, narrow, but very distinctive parallelogram of stars. They are the stars of the constellation Lyra the harp. The bright star is Vega, the 5th brightest night-time star. To the Romans, the star Vega represented a falling eagle or vulture. Apparently they never made the distinction between the two species. It is a pure white star and serves as a calibration star for color and brightness. In the evening, it is the top-most star of the Summer Triangle. The harp, according to Greek mythology, was invented by the god Hermes. The form of the harp, in the sky, is as he had invented it: by stretching strings across a tortoise shell. Hermes gave it to his half-brother Apollo, who in turn gave it to the legendary musician Orpheus.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Annimated Lyra finder chart

Animated Lyra finder chart. The lyre image not supplied by Stellarium but is from The World’s Earliest Music by Hermann Smith, Figure 60, A Project Gutenberg E-Book, and captioned “The Chelys or Greek Tortoiseshell Lyre”. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.